NEW YORK - State officials are going to teach homeowners - behind in their mortgage payments - how to work with their lenders and possibly save their homes from foreclosures.

The State Senate Democratic Conference is kicking off "Operation Protect Your Home." It's a series of forums where homeowners can meet with lenders to learn how to hold off or prevent foreclosure.

Organizers say 20,000 high-risk homeowners have been invited to attend.

Last year, there were close to 6,500 foreclosures in Brooklyn. That's one of the highest numbers in all of New York state.

State Banking Superintendent Richard Neiman says more than 50 percent of the borrowers who go through foreclosure never have any direct contact with the lender. He says that means they have either given up or they did not have any other options to save their homes.

Officials say the last thing a bank wants is to own your house.

The seminars will begin Saturday, February 23 at Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx at noon. And at Staten Island Community College Sunday, February 24, also at noon.

Associated Press wire reports contributed to this story.