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CFO Sink’s ‘Protecting Florida Homeowners’ Roundtable Brings Together Lawyers & Lenders

4/20/2009

    Contact:   Kyra Jennings or Kevin Cate
                   (850) 413-2842
 
Roundtable Participants Work To Prevent Foreclosures Through Better Communication
 
TALLAHASSEE – Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink brought together top Florida lenders and lawyers with the Florida Attorneys Saving Homes program today in Tampa during a roundtable discussion focused on keeping more Floridians in their homes.  At the Protecting Florida’s Homeowner’s Roundtable, moderated by CFO Sink, top lenders and volunteer lawyers developed solutions for better communication and negotiation, as they work to ease some of the challenges facing Floridians who struggle to pay their mortgages and face the threat of foreclosure.
 
“As we are all aware, for a number of years Florida has been ground zero for the housing crisis faced by our country,” said CFO Sink. “That’s why I have worked to find avenues to provide real, tangible help to Floridians facing the threat of foreclosure. I hope today’s discussion serves as a foundation for increased cooperation between lawyers and lenders who want to keep more Floridians in their homes and more Floridians paying their mortgages on-time.”
 
The roundtable gave lenders and pro bono lawyers the chance to discuss how to improve their communication and interaction, as they work together to help Floridians facing the threat of foreclosure.   They also discussed how the new homeowner assistance plan from the Obama Administration affects their work moving forward.
 
Lenders represented at today’s roundtable included: Bank of America and Countrywide, IndyMac Bank, JP Morgan Chase and Washington Mutual, Saxon Mortgage Services, Wachovia and Wells Fargo, and SunTrust Bank.
 
CFO Sink plans to monitor progress from the roundtable discussion, following up with Florida Attorneys Saving Homes lawyers and Florida lenders on discussed action items, such as:
 
Appointing Lender Ombudsmen to facilitate and improve Florida Attorneys Saving Homes interactions with lenders.  
Identifying the Key Documents sought by lenders from homeowners to fast-track Florida Attorneys Saving Homes assistance.
Setting Time-Lines for resolutions, helping both lender and lawyers better manage time and expectations.
Embracing the Making Home Affordable Plan to further assist customers with available federal assistance.
Improving Lawyer and Lender Expertise on issues related to foreclosure prevention.
Stalling foreclosures during the negotiation process for Florida Attorneys Saving Homes clients committed to keeping their homes.
 
In 2007, CFO Sink reached out to the Florida Bar and asked that they provide assistance to struggling homeowners in the state, and the Florida Attorneys Saving Homes program was created.  The program pairs pro bono attorneys with Florida homeowners who are behind on their mortgage payments, to help these homeowners try and find solutions with their lenders.  Over 1,000 lawyers across the state have volunteered their time in response to CFO Sink’s call to launch this program.
 
In addition to the Florida Attorneys Saving Homes Program, CFO Sink has also launched the Florida Housing Help Initiative to assist homeowners facing foreclosure. The initiative partners with community organizations and elected officials to hold foreclosure workshops around the state, and nearly 1,000 families have already attended these events.  For more information on CFO Sink’s Florida Housing Help Initiative or the Florida Attorneys Saving Homes program, visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com.