The Second Judicial District Court serves the community in many ways including connecting citizens to resources to assist keeping them in their homes where they can stay, remain united as a family and continue to be productive members of society. Simply put, the courts want to help, not disrupt, the lives of everyone.
One of the ways to serve the community is through diversion programs such as the foreclosure settlement program (FSP). The FSP was started in 2016, and its goal is to provide early court intervention in residential mortgage foreclosure cases. The program facilitates early negotiations in order to reach agreeable terms between the borrower and lender, which often results in costly foreclosures being avoided.
Once a residential foreclosure complaint is filed, the case is automatically referred to FSP. The case is put on a stay, which stops the case from moving forward while the case is in FSP. The program assigns trained facilitators who can work with borrowers which can include finding free legal services, securing financial assistance, and negotiating loan modifications terms with lenders. This keeps families in their homes, and prevents costly and lengthy foreclosure proceedings for lenders. In foreclosure cases where the homeowners are deceased, the FSP is also able to bring heirs into the negotiations to find agreeable terms in order to save generational homes. The FSP is a win-win for all involved.
The Second Judicial District Court’s FSP has experienced success. From July 1, 2022, to December 31, 2022, the success rate amongst homeowners who fully participated in FSP settled at a rate of 85%, settling 47 out of 55 cases fully or partially. The total success rate of cases where homeowners both fully participated and partially participated initially was 77%. Of the fully settled cases, 83% of homeowners were able to remain in their homes.
The SJDC foreclosure settlement program has been so successful that it has expanded to offer services in the Third Judicial District, Doña Ana County. The SJDC is working to further expand the program to assist all New Mexicans statewide. The program not only helps homeowners and lenders, but it benefits entire communities by proving economic stability to the public, businesses and local governments.
For more information about the foreclosure settlement program, and all programs and opportunities offered by the SJDC, you can visit www.seconddistrictcourt.nmcourts.gov.
The SJDC is grateful for the hard work of the FSP staff and attorneys who are dedicated public servants to their community. As a member of the state judiciary, the SJDC is proud to continue to strive to find ways to provide access to legal services to the citizens of New Mexico.
Nancy Franchini is a presiding civil court judge for the Second Judicial District Court. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the judge individually and not those of the court.