Banks Join Forum To Help Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure

CHICAGO (CBS) — In Illinois last year, nearly 30,000 foreclosed homes sold for an average price of about $138,000. That’s bad for homeowners and bad for lenders.

As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, that’s why representatives from several banks sat down with local homeowners at a community forum on Saturday in the hopes of working together to keep more customers from hurtling into foreclosure.

Belinda Rogers was worried Saturday, because she’s concerned she might lose the home she’s lived in for decades.

“I’m current. I’m not delinquent and then I have the next payment coming out while I’m in the hospital,” Rogers said of her mortgage payment.

While she’s up to date, she wasn’t sure if she can remain that way. So on Saturday, she outlined her concerns to a representative from Wells Fargo Bank.

“As of next week I’ll be going in for a total knee replacement,” she said.

That surgery is expected to keep her off the job for up to six months. During much of that time she won’t receive a paycheck.

“I don’t want to come home from the hospital and I don’t have a place to stay. And for the next six months I won’t have an active income,” she said.

Rogers hundreds of other people in similar circumstances sat down with representatives from area banks on Saturday in the hopes of modifying their existing home loans.

Salem Baptist Church put on the forum after hearing from many desperate community members.

Salem Baptist Legal Director Rochelle Jackson said “People are quick to blame themselves, they’re quick to feel bad about their situations, but one of the things that were telling them is there are a lot of options.”

Wells Fargo officials didn’t want to speak about Rogers’ options but they did promise a quick decision.

“The decision will be made within five business days,” a Wells Fargo representative told Rogers.

Rogers said she’s afraid she might lose her South Side home if her current 7½% interest rate isn’t significantly lowered.

According to Realtytrac, in 2010 26% of Illinois homes sold were in foreclosure. Those homes sold at a discount of more than 35% when compared with homes not in the foreclosure process.

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