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Time running out on foreclosure review program

Were you involved in a mortgage foreclosure action in 2009 or 2010? If so, you may be eligible for relief through a widely ignored governmental program targeting homeowners that have lost the place they call home.

According to RealtyTrac, there were 26,412 Florida homes in some stage of foreclosure in May. That included 14,768 new filings, an 83 percent increase over last year.

Last year, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Office of Thrift Supervision announced enforcement action against 14 large residential mortgage servicers and two third-party vendors for unsafe and unsound practices related to residential mortgage servicing and foreclosure processing.

Among the sanctions received by mortgage servicers was an obligation to independently review problematic foreclosures. In an effort to reach as many Americans as possible, the government has extended the “Independent Foreclosure Review” program through September 30.

Homeowners who lost their home to foreclosure are not eligible to have it returned but may be eligible for a cash payment of up to $2,000. Affected homeowners may also be eligible to have most, if not all, of any deficiency balance waived.

There were more that 6.6 million foreclosures nationwide between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2010, according to RealtyTrac. A consulting firm acting on this information and on behalf of federal bank regulators mailed almost 4.4 million letters to homeowners who may be eligible to have their foreclosures reviewed for mistakes.

Thousands of Floridians have been deemed eligible for an Independent Foreclosure Review, but have yet to make an application for relief under the program.

The three-month extension provides not only the 14 sanctioned mortgage servicers who may have harmed homeowners more time to notify them of the federal enforcement action, but also the 13 additional mortgage servicers — who joined the program in an effort to identify impacted borrowers — an opportunity for independent foreclosure review as well.

So far, the response has been extremely disappointing.

As of May 31, the independent consultants have received 193,630 requests for review. The servicers themselves, through their own sampling, selected an additional 144,817 cases, for a total of 338,447.

Although the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency believes the number of applications will dramatically increase by the end of July, just 7.7 percent of the estimated 4.4 million homeowners believed eligible have applied for review.

“If a homeowner believes they were wrongfully injured by a foreclosure error in 2009 and 2010, they should request a review,” stated Bryan Hubbard, a spokesman for the OCC. “They give up no rights by requesting a review.”

To be eligible for relief, affected mortgages must have been for a homeowner’s primary residence and in active foreclosure between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2010.

The following mortgage servicers are participating in the Independent Foreclosure Review process:

America’s Servicing Company , Aurora Loan Services, BAC Home Loans Servicing, Bank of America, Beneficial, Chase, Citibank, CitiFinancial, CitiMortgage, Countrywide, EMC, EverBank/EverHome Mortgage Company, Financial Freedom, GMAC Mortgage, HFC, HSBC, IndyMac Mortgage Services, MetLife Bank, National City Mortgage, PNC Mortgage, Sovereign Bank, SunTrust Mortgage, U.S. Bank, Wachovia, Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo and Wilshire Credit Corporation.

The Independent Foreclosure Review should not be confused with the $25 billion national mortgage settlement recently negotiated between most of the states’ attorneys general and the big five mortgage servicers: Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo and Ally Financial (formerly GMAC). Every state in the nation but Oklahoma is participating.

According to the government-mandated oversight website, some primary examples of mortgage servicer mistakes that may have resulted in financial injury are:

— The mortgage balance was overstated or miscalculated at the time of foreclosure

— Foreclosure proceedings were initiated despite the fact that the homeowner was in bankruptcy, waiting to hear about a request for mortgage modification or abiding by terms of a mortgage modification

— The foreclosure proceedings coincided with active military service.

The Independent Foreclosure Review process is free and can be completed online at or through the mail. Applications must be processed by September 30 to be eligible for review.

Homeowners in need of assistance should call 888-952-9105. In an effort to assist with the application process, the Federal Reserve has put together a short “Independent Foreclosure Review PSA” video. The video provides program details in English and in Spanish.

Foreclosures nationwide rose to over 200,000 for the first time in two months. Georgia has the highest rate of foreclosures in the country with one in every 300 housing units, followed by Arizona, Nevada, California, Illinois and Florida.

“Homeowners faced with a foreclosure in 2009 or 2010 should take advantage of this review,” stated Fort Lauderdale foreclosure defense attorney Carlos Reyes. “The process is free and totally without fee. Don’t let someone charge you for completing an application you can complete online in less than 30 minutes.”

To review Bill Lewis’ entire consumer protection series, visit

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Foreclosure sales drop in second quarter in Myrtle Beach area

The decline in foreclosure sales might be because “banks are doling out properties a little at a time because they don’t want to put a lot out there at the same time, which drives prices down, they miscalculated the demand and put more out [in the market] than they should, or because prices are going up now and the higher the price point with foreclosures, the lower the demand,” said Roger Fouch, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Chicora’s Carolina Forest office, whose specialties include foreclosures and short sales.

Also, “those waiting to buy jumped off the fence and bought during the first quarter” because Realtors said at the time that prices had bottomed out, Fouch said.

About 30 percent of single-family home sales and about 34 percent of condo sales along the Grand Strand still are either foreclosures or short sales, about the same as last year, said Tom Maeser, a real estate analyst with the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors.

In South Carolina, there were 2, 222 homes that were in some stage of foreclosure or bank owned that sold in South Carolina, down 15.09 percent from the first quarter and down 17.31 percent from the second quarter last year, according to RealtyTrac.

Even though foreclosure sales are down in Horry County, foreclosure filings were up April through June this year compared to the same time last year.

About 1,205 Horry County properties had foreclosure-related filings in the second quarter, up about 17.91 percent from the same quarter last year, according to RealtyTrac. Most of those filings, 609, were lis pendens, the documents lenders file to start the foreclosure process.

About one in every 154 properties in Horry County has a foreclosure filing, the fourth-highest rate of foreclosures in the state behind Dorchester, York and Berkeley counties, according to RealtyTrac. Statewide, about one in 215 properties have foreclosure filings, the 12th-highest rate of any state in the country, according to RealtyTrac.

Exhibitors to showcase products, services at home, outdoor living show

About 200 exhibitors are expected to showcase their products and services at this year’s Home Improvement Outdoor Living Show.

“We still have a few spaces available,” said Rose Anne O’Reilly, executive vice president of the Horry Georgetown Home Builders Association.

The Horry Georgetown Home Builders Association’s event, presented by The Professional Remodelers Council, will have exhibitors, speakers, workshops, seminars and demonstrations.

Attendees can anticipate finding anything for remodeling the home and for outdoor living areas at the second annual show.

The Sun News is one of the sponsors of the show, which will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept.14 and Sept.15 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept.16 at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, 2101 N. Oak St.

The cost is $5 per adult and free for children under 16 years old.

For more information or to become an exhibitor, call O’Reilly at 438-4124.

Landlord workshop to be held this month in Myrtle Beach

A landlord workshop by the Housing Authority of Myrtle Beach and Full Steam Ahead, Inc. Fire and Water Restoration will be held this month in Myrtle Beach.

The free event will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Sept.13 at The Caribbean Resort Conference Center, 3000 North Ocean Boulevard, Myrtle Beach.

The workshop will include topics on mold intervention, heating and cooling maintenance, bed bug prevention/treatment, housing choice voucher program, housing quality standards and the Veterans Administration Supportive Housing Program.

To pre-register, contact Theresa Ross at or call 918-1560.

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RealtyTrac: 2Q foreclosure sales prices up, sales down

Jacksonville foreclosure home sale prices were up in the second quarter, and the number of foreclosure sales was down nearly 50 percent.

Jacksonville foreclosure home sale prices were up in the second quarter, and the number of foreclosure sales was down nearly 50 percent.

Michael Clinton
Web Producer- Jacksonville Business Journal

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Jacksonville foreclosure home sale prices were up in the second quarter, and the number of foreclosure sales was down nearly 50 percent, Irvine-based RealtyTrac reported Aug. 30.

Jacksonville had 966 sales involving foreclosed properties in the second quarter, compared to 1,844 in the first quarter, or an decrease of 47.6 percent. The second quarter foreclosure sales were also down 47.7 percent from the 1,850 sold in the second quarter of 2011.

The average foreclosure sales price in the second quarter was $121,487, up from $106,025 recorded in the first quarter and $104,724 in the second quarter of 2011.

The percentage of sales involving foreclosed properties in Jacksonville, 22.5 percent, was higher than the statewide average of 20.8 percent and the national average of 22.75 percent for the second quarter. But that was down from the 25.4 percent in the first quarter and up from the 20.38 percent of the market in the second quarter of 2011.

The average discount for foreclosed properties was 32 percent in the second quarter, compared to 25.7 percent in the first quarter and 34.3 percent in the second quarter of 2011.

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Free Foreclosure Assistance Event to be Held on September 8th in Vista …

( — Homeowners who have fallen into a financial hardship and who are having trouble on their monthly mortgage payments are invited to this event to come and recieve assistance from housing counselors on ways they may avoid foreclosure. Below is a brief description of the entity holding this event.

The HOME Clinic is a community service program of the Housing Opportunities Collaborative (HOC), a coalition of nonprofit organizations and housing agencies in the San Diego region, to assist and educate homeowners and homebuyers in their housing needs. HOC is a HUD approved housing counseling agency.

Register for Event: send email with name, address, and telephone number to,, or call (619)283-2200 or 800-HOC-0503

Date of Event: Saturday September 8th

Time of Event: 10 am – 2pm

Location of Event: Vista Library 700 Eucalyptus Avenue Vista, Ca 92084

for more info:

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LI foreclosure sales dive in 2nd quarter

Originally published: August 29, 2012 8:20 PM
Updated: August 30, 2012 10:46 AM


With lenders following new more time-consuming standards, sales

Photo credit: Daniel Brennan | With lenders following new more time-consuming standards, sales of foreclosed homes, like this one in Oyster Bay, have fallen. Some banks are opting for loan modifications and short sales. (Aug. 29, 2012)

Web links

Portion of a map showing foreclosure activity on
2012 LI foreclosure filings

Portion of a map showing foreclosure activity on
2011 LI foreclosure filings

Jill Zarin, one of the stars of the
Real LI Blog

The number of foreclosure sales plummeted by 49 percent in Suffolk County and 32 percent in Nassau County during the second quarter, compared to the same period in 2011, according to a report due to be released Thursday.

The decline is largely driven by how difficult and time-consuming it has become for banks to seize homes, according to Daren Blomquist, a vice president with RealtyTrac, the foreclosure data firm that compiled the report.

Alternatives to foreclosure include short sales — where a home is sold for less than its outstanding mortgage balance — as well as loan modifications and refinancings, he said.

“Foreclosure has become much more difficult for lenders to navigate,” Blomquist said. “That is, I think, forcing lenders to consider alternatives to foreclosure.”

Five major mortgage lenders reached a $25-billion accord with federal and state agencies earlier this year, settling allegations they foreclosed on homes without proper documentation.

Since that accord, said Carol Yopp, program manager with the Long Island Housing Partnership, “the banks are trying to work with these people, rather than letting it go to a foreclosure sale.”

Some banks have been paying incentives to homeowners who agree to short sales, in amounts ranging from $2,500 to $25,000, said Michael Kenduck, owner of Cruse Real Estate in Seaford.

The five lenders who signed the $25-billion accord provided $10.6 billion in consumer relief from March 1 to June 30, with $8.7 billion in the form of short sales, according to a report released Wednesday from the official monitoring the settlement.

The accord requires the five banks to provide around $20 billion of relief by reducing loan balances for struggling borrowers and refinancing loans for customers whose homes are worth less than the value of their mortgages.

The report said Bank of America is lagging behind its peers in meeting its obligations under the settlement. Unlike its competitors, Bank of America did not modify any first-lien mortgages to reduce the amount of money the borrower owed, and it also did not complete any refinancings by June 30, according to the report.

However, Bank of America did allow $4.8 billion of short sales, the most of the five banks.

Bank of America spokesman Dan Frahm called the report an “early snapshot” and said the bank has made significant progress since June 30. The bank expects to meet all of its required targets in the first year, he said. — With Reuters

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Report shows foreclosure settlement’s early reach

The $25 billion national mortgage foreclosure settlement is making its way to homeowners in Illinois and elsewhere.

As of June 30, 5,268 Illinois homeowners have received more than $357 million in relief as a result of February’s settlement with the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers over shoddy foreclosure practices, according to a report released Wednesday by the independent monitor of the settlement.

  • Maps

  • Chicago, IL, USA

  • Illinois, USA

Almost half of those Illinois borrowers, 2,555, participated in a short sale of their home or completed a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure — giving up their home in return for the mortgage getting ripped up — with their servicer. Others received loan modifications, principal reductions and refinancings. State officials expect to see an increase in loan modifications and principal reductions in coming months.

Nationally, the servicers — Bank of America, CitiMortgage, Ally Financial, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo — reported that they granted $10.56 billion of relief to 137,846 borrowers between March 1 and June 30.

Almost $8.7 billion of that national relief involved about 75,000 borrowers either completing a short sale or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. In those cases, the servicers are waiving unpaid principal balances due, according to the report.

According to the state, Illinois ranks fourth in total number of borrowers who have received assistance.

“I am cautiously encouraged by the initial progress reported by the independent monitor,” said Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who helped negotiate the settlement. “We’re starting to see real results for Illinois families.

Joseph Smith Jr., the independent monitor, noted that the information was reported by the companies and had not been audited or confirmed by his staff at the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight.

Mortgage servicers also improved their practices, the report said. They have until Oct. 2 to comply with more than 300 standards.

Under the settlement, participating states also have received funds, and Illinois has begun disbursing its $106 million share. On Tuesday, Madigan announced a $4.7 million grant to the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago to help it provide services to homeowners in the city and suburban Cook County. Last week, $4.5 million was awarded to the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation to assist homeowners in central and southern Illinois.

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Report: Foreclosure sales fell sharply in 2Q

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sales of bank-owned homes and those already on the foreclosure path fell sharply in the second quarter, reflecting a thinner slate of properties for sale in many cities as banks take a measured approach to placing homes on the market.

Even so, foreclosure sales’ share of all U.S. home purchases grew in the April-to-June period, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.

The combination of fewer bank-owned homes for sale and stronger demand during the traditional spring home-buying season also pushed sale prices higher. Bank-owned homes and those in some stage of foreclosure posted the biggest annual increase in average sales price since 2006, before the housing bubble burst, the firm said.

“It boils down to supply and demand — limited supply and pretty strong demand — especially during the second quarter, when a lot of buyers come out of the woodwork and look to buy,” said Daren Blomquist, a vice president at RealtyTrac.

As of last month, there were 1.47 million U.S. homes in some stage of the foreclosure process or owned by banks. Of the 620,751 in lenders’ possession, only about 15 percent are listed for sale, according to RealtyTrac.

The measured approach has triggered bidding wars and led to higher prices in markets like Las Vegas, where the inventory of bank-owned homes sank to a 6.2-month supply in June.

The pool of foreclosed properties for sale also has declined because many pending foreclosure cases were put on hold last year while banks sorted through foreclosure abuse claims. A $25 billion settlement in February cleared the way for lenders to tackle that backlog of foreclosures, and the number of homes entering the foreclosure process has been rising.

Still, those properties, should they end up foreclosed, are not likely to hit the market until next year.

All those factors helped set the stage for the second-quarter decline in foreclosure sales, which includes bank-owned homes and homes in the foreclosure process, which are most commonly short sales, when the lender agrees to accept less than what the seller owed on the mortgage.

Lenders are increasingly favoring short sales versus waiting for troubled loans to go through the foreclosure process.

Short sales on properties that hadn’t even started the foreclosure process rose 18 percent between January and May compared to the same stretch of 2011, the firm said.

“Selling a bank-owned property has become a lot less attractive to lenders than it was in the past, and it just opens them up to additional risk,” Blomquist said.

All told, 224,429 homes in the foreclosure sales category were purchased in the second quarter. That’s down 12 percent from the first three months of the year and down 22 percent from the second quarter last year, RealtyTrac said.

Despite the decline in foreclosure sales, their share of all home sales grew.

Foreclosure sales accounted for 23 percent of all U.S. home sales, which includes sales of previously occupied homes and new homes. That’s up from 22 percent in the first quarter and up from 19 percent a year earlier, the firm said.

While rising, the share of foreclosure sales remains well below its first-quarter 2009 peak of 45 percent of all sales. They comprised less than 1 percent of all sales in 2005, at the height of the housing boom.

Homebuyers who purchased a foreclosure sale in the second quarter paid an average of $170,040. That’s up 6 percent from the first three months of the year and up 7 percent from a year earlier.

While costing more, the average price of a foreclosure sale amounted to a 32 percent discount on the average price of non-foreclosure homes, RealtyTrac said. The discount rose from 30 percent in the first quarter and second quarter of 2011.

The wider price gap between foreclosure sales and those of non-foreclosure properties reflects rising home prices as sales have improved this year.

The Standard Poor’s/Case Shiller index for June showed the first year-over-year increase in home prices since September 2010.

Sales of new homes in the second quarter were up 18 percent from a year earlier. As of last month, they’re up 25 percent from a year earlier. Sales of previously occupied homes rose nearly 9 percent in the April-to-June quarter. They jumped 10 percent in July compared with the same month last year.

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Mortgage loan modification-Stop foreclosure evictions tips released


Mortgage loan modification -Stop foreclosure evictions tips released

Mortgage loan modification to stop  foreclosure evictions. The old methods aren’t operating too well any longer, and so the query is would homeowners like to know some practical alternative indicates that could help to quit a trustee sale or stop a sheriff sale or foreclosure eviction? If that’s the case the Help-To-Stop-Foreclosure.Net Special Report “Stop Foreclosure Sale or Eviction – 7 Secrets in Plain Sight Tips” is now created obtainable as a download at no expense to home owners.

The typical way’s people pursue help for example mortgage loan modification, forbearance agreements, the REST Report, a short sale, deed in lieu of foreclosure and government applications like HAMP, and most of the time they do not usually function or perhaps do not normally perform at corectly.

For someone struggling with payments and wants to prevent foreclosure, they shouldn’t fall for this 1, the old “now you qualify, and now you don’t quality,” “now you see it, now you do not,” trick.

For far more crucial data, bankers hope home owners in no way find out, but owners ought to know because it can help them quit a sheriff sale or quit a trustee sale or foreclosure eviction, click here and download the e-book “Stop Foreclosure Sale or Eviction – 7 Secrets in Plain Sight Tips – Specific Report 2”.

Mortgage loan modification -Stop foreclosure evictions tips released.

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Foreclosure moratorium needed as Bank of America gets ongoing federal bailout

Moratorium leader Vanessa Fluker speaks at Oct. 21 BOA protest in Detroit. WW photo: Kris Hamel

The nationalization of the U.S. mortgage industry by the federal government — a takeover implemented by the Democrats and Republicans to bail out Bank of America and other banks at the expense of homeowners and their communities — opens the door for activists to demand a reversal of these anti-people policies.

The first step in stopping the massive, ongoing foreclosure crisis is to demand that President Barack Obama immediately declare a moratorium to stop all foreclosures and foreclosure-related evictions, and then move to implement a plan to reduce the amount owed on the 11.1 million homes currently underwater to reflect their real value.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency was created by Congress through the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. Under HERA, the FHFA, a government agency, assumed complete control over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which at the time were quasi-government corporations that controlled approximately half of all mortgages.

Since 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have bought up trillions of dollars in failing mortgages from investor trusts. This operated as a silent bailout to the banks, with the banks being paid full value on inflated and predatory loans. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac then evicted the homeowners following foreclosures and dumped the homes for a fraction of their value, with taxpayers absorbing the losses.

The cost to taxpayers for this practice thus far has been $180 billion, with the Congressional Budget Office estimating the ultimate bailout as $389 billion, while many private estimates are much higher.

According to the FHFA’s 2012 report to Congress, since the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was completed in September 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have guaranteed three out of every four mortgages originated since that date. Mortgages guaranteed by the Federal Housing Authority make up the rest. A complete nationalization of the mortgage industry by the federal government has occurred.

Nationalization gives banks big profits

The federal government pays the banks that originate mortgage loans. Bank of America and other banks, which get zero-percent-interest loans from the Federal Reserve, charge borrowers 4 percent interest, and then pocket the difference when the loans are purchased by the federal government. This practice has resulted in the banks continuing to make record profits. (New York Times, Aug.8)

The HERA mandated that the FHFA implement a plan to maximize assistance to homeowners to minimize foreclosures, considering the net present value to taxpayers. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 — also known as the $700 billion bank bailout bill — similarly mandated the U.S. Treasury to implement loan modification and refinancing programs to aid homeowners.

Despite the federal takeover of mortgage loans, the Obama administration has relied on the banks to implement loan modification programs such as the Home Affordable Modification Program, which was trumpeted as a means of preventing up to 4 million foreclosures. With the banks being paid full value by the government on their inflated home loans, and making millions of dollars in fees on foreclosures, they have no incentive to work with homeowners.

As a result, the modest modification programs announced by President Obama have been a failure, helping less than one-quarter the number of families who have applied. (New York Times, Aug. 19)

By the FHFA’s own estimate, 11.1 million mortgage loans are underwater, meaning the mortgage amount owed is greater than the value of the home. The FHFA acknowledges that the reduction in house prices has resulted in a decline in housing wealth from 2005 to 2011 of $7 trillion. (FHFA Review of Options report)

Despite this reality, FHFA director Edward DeMarco has refused to implement any programs that would reduce principal on mortgages. A July 31 New York Times article implied Demarco was “defying President Obama” by this refusal. DeMarco, however, is a temporary appointment of President Obama, who could fire and replace him.

President has authority to take action

The foreclosure crisis shows no signs of slowing. In addition to the 10.9 million foreclosures between 2007 and 2011, in a January speech William Dudley, president of the New York Federal Reserve, predicted an additional 3.6 million foreclosures for 2012-2013.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac own approximately 180,000 vacant homes. The FHFA plans to sell these homes cheap to investors like Goldman Sachs — who helped create the foreclosure crisis — so they reap more profits as rental properties. (Real Estate Insider, Dec. 4)

The struggle to stop this foreclosure epidemic, which is devastating the lives of millions in the U.S., involves several forms, from anti-eviction home defenses to the launching of a political movement that targets the federal government for bailing out the banks at the people’s expense.

We must demand that President Obama immediately implement a three-year federal moratorium to halt all foreclosures and related evictions, and that he place a director over the FHFA who will begin reducing principal to market value on home mortgages for the benefit of homeowners and their families.

The vacant homes held by the federal government must be used to house the homeless, not line the pockets of investors, and the government should implement a jobs program to rehabilitate these homes for people’s use.

Goldberg is a people’s anti-foreclosure attorney in Detroit and a leading organizer of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions Utility Shutoffs.

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Morris Brown Files for Bankruptcy in Move to Avoid Foreclosure

Atlanta – Morris Brown College is filing for bankruptcy protection in the face of foreclosure. The historically black Atlanta college was set to be foreclosed upon next Tuesday.

Trustees announced the decision to file for bankruptcy protection on Saturday, during a campus Day of Prayer.

The 131-year-old school is more than $13 million in debt. Morris Brown has faced several challenges since it lost accreditation a decade ago. Enrollment is now down to about 50 students.

“During the past several years, the Board of Trustees and the Administration of the College have been collectively engaged in a planning process to preserve this great historical and educational institution and to position it for a successful future,” school leaders said in a statement on the college’s website. “We continue to explore every financial and tactical option legally available to us in our goal to operate at the highest educational level and remain financially viable.”

The college has started a new online giving campaign. Donations to the Morris Brown College Recovery Fund can be made through the school’s website.

Source: 11Alive News


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