Lenders halt foreclosures during holidays

Time period may allow homeowners to get back on feet

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Struggling homeowners will be getting a Christmas present from their bank this year, and for some families, a little more time could be exactly what they need to get back on their feet.

National mortgage lenders are getting in the holiday spirit by making a promise to delinquent borrowers in jeopardy of losing their homes: They will not foreclose from Dec. 19 to Jan. 2.

The main thing homeowners need to be aware of is that the foreclosure process will continue, but homeowners and their families will not be evicted during that holiday time frame.

"It's a humane thing to do," said Carolyn McClanahan, a certified financial planner. "People shouldn't be kicked out of their homes during the holidays."

McClanahan said this could be a great opportunity for families who are about to lose their homes. The standard proceedings for evictions will continue, but families will be allowed to stay in their homes, giving them extra time to come up with a plan.

"Start looking for help, No. 1, and then understand what you are able to do to save your home," McClanahan said. "And if you're not able to save your home, start planning for things if you are getting ready to be kicked out, so find other avenues, places to live or places that are more affordable."

Among the major banks participating in the foreclosure holiday break are Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Wells Fargo and Bank of America. Banks are hopeful that some borrowers will be able to get current on their mortgage during the eviction suspension and will be able to keep their homes.

The foreclosure rate in Jacksonville varies significantly by area. In wealthier parts of the River City one out of every 110 homes is in foreclosure. So perhaps many locals will benefit from this no eviction time frame.

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