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George Babcock: 12 Who Made a Difference in RI in 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

 

Attorney George Babcock worked doggedly to keep Rhode Islanders in their homes as foreclosures threatened throughout 2012.

Foreclosures remained a central, tragic outcome for Rhode Island families in 2012, but attorney George Babcock made it his mission to advocate for the state's beleaguered homeowners, bringing smarts, advocacy, and in many cases, relief. In a landscape full of financial black hats, Babcock truly wore a white hat. Is it any wonder he calls his radio show "The Law Dogs"?

The numbers are daunting. More than 7,500 Rhode Island homes have been lost in foreclosure between January 2009 and June of 2012, with 14 communities in the state seeing at least 100 properties taken over by banks during that time span, according to HousingWorks RI, an affordable housing advocacy coalition.

"Beating the bank before they take a swing at you"

Babcock, whose offices are in Pawtucket, aims his skills--and legal team--at prevention. "Many of our clients come to us as a last resort," he says, working with local families to "beat the bank before they take a swing at you." Using smart technicalities like advising those receiving a foreclosure notice to check for title defects (which invalidates foreclosure process), Babcock plays the legal game with banks that all too frequently walk all over homeowners.

While working on the ground to help clients keep their homes, Babcock also exercises a watchdog capacity for clients to ensure that foreclosure processes are done properly. Along those lines, he has also been involved in a higher level quest--"to set MERS adrift," as he puts it. MERS, or Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., is a privately held company that operates an electronic registry designed to track servicing rights and ownership of mortgage loans. Babcock and his firm has brought hundreds of lawsuits against MERS in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, scoring another victory as recent as this month, with a ruling from Superior Court Judge Rubine regarding a MERS-related foreclosure.

With the ethic of self-described Christian soldier, Babcock says he's an American who "flies his flag high at his office and at his home and is proud to stand up to the 'too big to fail' banks and loan servicers on behalf of his clients." He points frequently to the words of another Babcock, the Rev. Maltbie Babcock, which decorate the walls of his offices:

"Fear not, fight on, for tomorrow comes the song."

For thousands of Rhode Islanders, this law dog is out to fight for their homes.

 

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