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Bill On Governor’s Desk Would Hasten Foreclosures

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Home Foreclosure (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Home Foreclosure (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A bill making foreclosures quicker and easier for banks is on Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk.

In a state that already ranks ninth in the country when it comes to foreclosures, critics say the legislation would cause that rate to soar if it’s signed into law.

“It’s terrible for consumers. It really is robbing them of their rights,” says Erica Minchella of the Association of Foreclosure Defense Attorneys.

The bill would give homeowners just 60 days to move to dismiss a foreclosure notice or question the legality of how they were served with that notice in the first place. Right now, there is no such limit as long as the foreclosure hasn’t been completed.

“The defendants won’t have the time they need to defend … because it’s basically creating what we refer to as a ‘rocket docket,’” Minchella said.

Minchella says it seems like the legislation is for the banks and possibly by the banks. But it sailed through both houses of the General Assembly without a single “no” vote.

Republican state Sen. Matt Murphy supported the measure, he says, because something needs to be done to get foreclosed homes back in the marketplace so they don’t blight neighborhoods.

But over at the Daley Center, on the 28th floor, scores of people show up each day to try and save their property. Most say the banks won’t work with them to renegotiate the terms of their loans. They say speeding the process for banks is bad for homeowners.

“They don’t have nowhere to go. What are they going to do, live in the street?” Kerry Harris of Englewood says.

Murphy says some people have bought more home than they can afford.

“You’ve got to get this done in a way that is respectful to the rest of the people in the neighborhood, too,” Murphy says.

The governor has two months to act on the bill.

Senate sponsor Kirk Dillard says it’s important to note that a judge can overrule the statute and extend the time period for good cause. He says he wouldn’t have sponsored the bill without that key provision.

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