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Franken tells Senate panel more needs to be done to help families avoid foreclosure

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) told a key Senate panel that with millions of families in Minnesota and across the country facing foreclosure, the need to ensure they have access to legal advice and to end abuse by lenders is critical to helping them stay in their homes.

"Borrowers are at such an extreme disadvantage in these foreclosure proceedings that I fear robo-signing is only one of many ways that servicers have been able to take advantage of vulnerable families and homeowners," said Sen. Franken. "And because most homeowners don't have access to legal advice or even basic counseling, most of these abuses never come to light."

Sen. Franken, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told his colleagues that more than 22,000 Minnesota families filed for bankruptcy in 2010, an 87 percent increase over 2007. This increase in bankruptcies in Minnesota and nationwide demonstrates the need for mediation programs and other reforms to help families stay in their homes.