Westchester County will hold its third forum for people having mortgage troubles, or people thinking of buying a house, on Thursday from 7-8:30 p.m. at the council chambers at Mount Vernon City Hall at 1 S. Roosevelt Square.
A panel of experts will talk about how to prevent foreclosure, and what resources are available. County Planning Department staff also will discuss a program that provides funds to remove lead-based paint from older homes and apartments.
The program is sponsored by the Westchester County Office of African American Affairs, the African American Advisory Board, the Westchester County Planning Department and Westchester Residential Opportunities. Call (914) 428-4507 or (914) 995-2934 for more information.
Standard & Poorâ€™s Rating Services yesterday affirmed its AA financial-strength rating of MBIA Inc., and removed the rating from credit watch negative.
S&Pâ€™s outlook for the troubled Armonk-based bond insurer is negative, S&P said.
â€œWe assigned a negative outlook to MBIA due to its significant exposure to domestic nonprime mortgages and related exposures,â€ S&P credit analyst David Veno said in a statement.
Removal of the negative outlook, Veno said, â€œwill depend on clarification of ultimate potential losses as well as future business prospects.â€
The possibility of new regulations and the outcome of MBIAâ€™s business decisions are also factors, he said.
Westchester County has signed a $150,000 contract with Westchester Residential Opportunities Inc., a nonprofit agency certified by the federal government, to reduce the number of evictions in the county caused by the nationâ€™s ongoing mortgage crisis.
The money was derived from a special fund the county set up to deal with emergencies, said County Legislator Peter Harckham, D-Katonah.
The agreement provides for the housing-support agency to use the funding to increase staffing to accommodate the growing number of requests for mortgage default and foreclosure counseling on its toll-free hotline, 877-976-4968, and the hotline’s continued operation.
The contract also calls for WRO officials to meet with top lenders and community stakeholders to discuss early intervention for potential defaulters, the county said.
WRO has offices at 470 Mamaroneck Ave. in White Plains and by appointment at the Mount Vernon Armory, 144 N. 5th Ave.
Its Web site is www.wroinc.org.
Shares of MBIA Inc. tumbled 13 percent today after Moodyâ€™s Investor Service stripped the struggling Armonk-based bond insurer of its prized Aaa rating, Moodyâ€™s highest.
Moodyâ€™s downgraded MBIAâ€™s rating two notches to A2. Moodyâ€™s also downgraded the rating for MBIA rival Ambac Financial Group Inc. one step to Aa.
The move, taken late Thursday, followed similar actions by Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poorâ€™s.
â€œMBIAâ€™s insured portfolio remains vulnerable to further economic deterioration,â€ Moodyâ€™s said in a statement. â€œThe outlook for the ratings is negative, reflecting the material uncertainty about the firmâ€™s strategy and the … likelihood of further adverse developments in its insurance portfolios or operations.â€
MBIA has recorded heavy losses largely due to its exposure to the weak housing market and a troubled market for subprime mortgages to riskier borrowers.
For its part, MBIA said yesterday that it was â€œdisappointedâ€ by Moodyâ€™s decision, saying it was â€œbaffledâ€ by the ratings agencyâ€™s analysis.
â€œWe believe the fundamentals of the company support a higher rating,â€ MBIA said.
MBIA shares ended the weekâ€™s trading down 86 cents to $5.59 each. The stock has fallen more than 91 percent in the last year.