Volume 5 Number 8
February 22, 2008

GOVERNOR CRIST CREATES TASK FORCE TO PREVENT HOME FORECLOSURE

Experts in mortgage and banking industries, consumer advocates and policy experts to develop recommendations

Governor Charlie Crist  created the Florida Home Ownership Promotes the Economy (HOPE) Task Force by Executive Order 08-27 to develop an action plan to address Florida’s escalating foreclosure rate. The Florida HOPE Task Force will bring together experts in the mortgage and banking industries, as well as consumer advocates and policy experts, to review Florida’s foreclosure rate and its impact on Florida’s economy.

“Last year one out of every 95 households experienced foreclosure in our state with filings up more than 275 percent over the previous year,” said Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink. “Working with the Governor’s H.O.P.E. Task Force, my office will be focused on identifying solutions to help families work through the often confusing and difficult process of retaining their homes.”

“Foreclosure hurts all Floridians by depressing home values and causing families to lose homes, jobs and hope,” said Governor Crist. “As this task force comes together to explore solutions, we will search for ways to restore hope to Florida’s families – and to our state’s economy.”

In 2007, Florida ranked second in the number of home foreclosures, with twice as many foreclosures than in 2006. The Florida HOPE Task Force will develop an action plan to address the foreclosure rate and identify ways to preserve home ownership for Floridians.

The task force will meet four times, beginning on March 3, 2008, in Tallahassee. Other meetings are planned for March 19 and April 2, also in Tallahassee. The fourth meeting will be held via conference call on April 9. They will present recommendations to the Governor, Speaker of the House and President of the Senate by April 18, 2008.

Governor Crist appointed Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp as chair of the Florida HOPE Task Force. Other members appointed by the Governor are Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, Senator Bill Posey, Senator Tony Hill, Representative Franklin Sands, Representative Garrett Richter, Alex Sanchez of the Florida Bankers Association, D. Ritch Workman of the Florida Association of Mortgage Brokers, Mike Fields of Bank of America, Thomas Kuntz of SunTrust, Nancy Riley of Florida Realtors Association, Bill Newton of the Florida Consumer Action Network and Steve Auger of the Florida Housing Finance Corporation.

In developing the state action plan to address Florida’s foreclosure rate, the task force will assess Florida’s banking and mortgage industries, including the subprime market and subprime borrowers, as well as the current laws and regulations related to the foreclosure process. They will also identify and assess public and private financial resources and educational opportunities available to assist Florida homeowners.

STATE OF FLORIDA

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

EXECUTIVE ORDER NUMBER 08-27

AN ORDER ESTABLISHING THE GOVERNOR’S FLORIDA HOME OWNERSHIP PROMOTES THE ECONOMY (“HOPE”) TASK FORCE

WHEREAS, preserving the American dream of home ownership is vitally important to the State of Florida and its citizens; and

WHEREAS, the purchase of a home is the most important financial decision many Floridians will make in their lifetime; and

WHEREAS, in 2007, Florida ranked second in the nation in terms of home foreclosure rates; and

WHEREAS, in 2007, Florida had more than twice the number of foreclosure filings reported in 2006; and

WHEREAS, Florida and its citizens pay a substantial cost as foreclosure rates rise, including the loss of homes, the loss of jobs, and depressed home values; and

WHEREAS, minimizing the negative impact of foreclosures is sound public policy for the State of Florida and its citizens; and

WHEREAS, sustainable home ownership is central to Florida’s healthy economic outlook;

NOW THEREFORE, I, CHARLIE CRIST, as Governor of Florida, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Florida Constitution, and all other applicable laws, issue the following Executive Order, to take effect immediately:

Section 1.

The Governor’s Florida Home Ownership Promotes the Economy (“HOPE”) Task Force is established to develop a state plan of action to address escalating foreclosure rates and to identify effective ways to preserve home ownership for Floridians.

Section 2.

The Governor’s Florida HOPE Task Force shall consist of thirteen members appointed by the Governor. Members shall serve a term beginning on February 20, 2008 through April 18, 2008. All appointees shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor, and the Governor may fill any vacancy that occurs. The membership of the Governor’s Florida HOPE Task Force shall reflect a broad spectrum of interested parties, including, but not limited to, the banking and lending industry, consumer advocacy groups, state government, and members of the Florida Legislature.

From the members, the Governor will appoint a Chair. The Chair will act as the Governor’s leading voice on matters related to home ownership preservation. The Governor’s Florida HOPE Task Force shall meet at a time and place designated by the Chair.

Section 3.

The Governor’s Florida HOPE Task Force shall develop a state plan of action to address escalating foreclosure rates and to identify effective ways to preserve home ownership for Floridians. The state plan of action shall consider, but not be limited to, the following:

An analysis of Florida’s banking and mortgage industries, including the subprime market and subprime borrowers;
An examination of current laws and regulations in Florida governing the banking and mortgage industries and the foreclosure process;
The identification and assessment of available financial resources (public and private) to assist Florida home owners facing foreclosure;
The identification and assessment of educational and outreach programs designed to assist Florida citizens and reduce the number of new foreclosures in Florida;
The collection and analysis of data to plan for current and future needs and monitor foreclosure activity;
An examination of foreclosure prevention measures, including, but not limited to, refinancing, mortgage insurance, incentives, and home ownership counseling; and
Recommendations, including possible legislative solutions, designed to address escalating foreclosure rates in Florida and to sustain home ownership for its citizens.

By April 18, 2008, the Governor’s Florida HOPE Task Force shall compile its findings and shall submit its final, comprehensive state plan of action to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate, and the Governor.

Section 4.

Members of the Governor’s Florida HOPE Task Force shall serve without compensation, but may receive per diem and travel expenses while attending task force meetings to the extent allowed by section 112.061, Florida Statutes, and to the extent that funds are available. Per diem and travel expenses shall be paid in accordance with Chapter 112, Florida Statutes. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation shall provide administrative support for the Governor’s Florida HOPE Task Force and provide technical assistance, as needed.

Section 5.

All agencies under the control of the Governor are directed, and all other agencies are requested, to render full assistance and cooperation to the Governor’s Florida HOPE Task Force.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Florida to be affixed, at Tallahassee, the Capitol, this 20th day of February, 2008.


GOVERNOR

ATTEST:


SECRETARY OF STATE