Citigroup to suspend foreclosures/evictions for holiday season

I’m not sure exactly how I want to position this… and as much as I want to be professional and not have an opinion, walk the fence (so-to-speak) I can’t help myself on this one.

OK so Citibank is saying “why don’t you folks take an additional 30 days because we’re not going to do anything with your home for the next 30 days anyway and really there are way too many functions on our schedule to sign all the docs until mid January.” The truth is that tens of THOUSANDS of REOs are sitting vacant and will be indefinitely. Much of this inventory is not even being marketed!

Citibank says it’s working on an alternative to foreclosure, so why not work on an alternative to evicting these owners, mid winter 30 days from now? In reality this is a drop in the bucket… The numbers of foreclosures reported in the third quarter were more than 900,000 and that is approximately 23% higher than a year ago. See map at Where Foreclosures Cluster.

Considering the magnitude of this crisis, for an organization the size of Citibank to do a press release about this weak concession is nothing but a publicity stunt to garner “good will” during the holidays. I’m embarrassed for them and ashamed that MSNBC posted it (seriously)… Can I get a WHOOP-DEE DOO!?

Citigroup to suspend foreclosures for 30 days
Bank is working on ‘long-term fundamental alternatives’ to foreclosure

WASHINGTON – Citigroup Inc. will suspend foreclosures and evictions for 30 days in a temporary break for about 4,000 borrowers during the holiday season.

The New York-based bank said Thursday the suspension will run from Friday through Jan. 17. It applies only to borrowers whose loans are owned by Citi. Borrowers who make payments to Citi but whose loans are owned by other investors are out of luck.

“We want our borrowers to have a much less stressful time, to spend their time with their families during the holidays as opposed to worrying about their homes,” Sanjiv Das, head of the company’s mortgage division, said in an interview.

The suspension means Citi will halt foreclosure sales and stop evicting homeowners from properties it has already seized. The company projects it will help 2,000 homeowners with scheduled foreclosure sales and another 2,000 that were due to receive foreclosure notices.

Das also said the company is working on “some long-term fundamental alternatives” to foreclosure, but declined to be specific. “We know that moratoriums are not permanent solutions,” he said.

Most major lenders suspended foreclosures last winter while the Obama administration developed its $75 billion loan modification program. Foreclosures picked up again after those suspensions lifted. In recent months, they have fallen as banks evaluate whether borrowers qualify for the government program.

Citi has enrolled about 100,000 borrowers in the Obama program, but had made only about 270 of those modifications permanent as of the end of last month, according to a Treasury Department report. But Das said the low number resulted from a “reporting error” and said it will rise dramatically by year-end.

“I have put a lot of pressure on my team to make sure that there is almost nothing left in the pipeline,” he said.

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