I read yesterday USA Today that Citigroup 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.
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.
Citgroup commented that 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".
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. I have seen the number of foreclosures rise in the past few months and expect more of the same into ealry 2010.
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. How can only 270 of 100k homeowners be processed through this system. Come on.