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Banks agree to voluntarily delay foreclosures for 45 days

Gov. Charlie Crist announced today that banks have agreed to a 45-day halt to scheduling any foreclosure sales and obtaining any new foreclosure petitions.

The initiative is in lieu of Crist's suggestion last week that he may require a 90-day moratorium by executive order to stop foreclosures during the holidays. By persuading bankers to do this voluntarily, he not only has the support of the Florida Bankers Association but apparently just drew attention to the status quo.

"This is a reaffirmation of our past practice and current practice,'' said Alex Sanchez, president of the Florida Bankers Association. He thanked the governor for his "compassionate leadership at this time" and urged anyone having problems with mortgage payments to "please contract your banker right away."

If there has been no mortgage fraud and "you're willing to enter into a repayment plan, you'll find our bankers are willing with our customers during this time of need," Sanchez said.

Crist said the goal was not to help businesses, property owners who are in foreclosure on second homes or people "with a bunch of Lexus' in the driveway.''

Crist also announced that the Department of Community Affairs will soon have $541 million for mortgage assistance and other financial aid to local governments that put together a plan to help homeowners in foreclosure, including $91 million for direct housing assistance. For more information he urged people to go to the following web sites: www.floridahousing.org and www.dca.state.fl.us.

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