The St. Louis County Council approved additional changes to an ordinance that requires lenders to offer mediation to homeowners on the edge of foreclosure.
The tweaks to the ordinance include removing the right for homeowners to sue lenders after they’ve gone through mediation, and they come in the shadow of an ongoing legal battle with lenders over whether the county even has the authority to enforce the ordinance.
Councilwoman Hazel Erby first introduced the mediation plan and is confident in the county’s case.
“We had a great team working on the bill,' Erby said. "So, we feel comfortable with it. We feel certain it will hold up in court."
But two weeks ago a St. Louis County Circuit judge issued a restraining order that prevents the county from putting the plan in place. On Monday a judge is scheduled to decide whether to extend the restraining order.
Regardless of the outcome, Erby said moving forward with the foreclosure mediation plan was the right thing to do.
“My opinion is that whatever happens from here on out, whether we win or lose, and I don’t think we’ll lose, will be a plus because we opened up a dialog regarding this whole process,” Erby said.
Bankers, however, have long maintained that mandatory foreclosure mediation will make it harder for consumers to get home loans in St. Louis County.
Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger and Councilman Greg Quinn both voted against changes made last night and voted against the original ordinance.