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Foreclosures on hold for the holidays

Mitchell Hartman Dec 19, 2011

Jeremy Hobson: Some Christmas time cheer blowing in for struggling homeowners this week. Due to the still lousy economy, there will be a halt to many foreclosures and evections from today until New Year’s. But after the moratorium ends, there could be a new wave of foreclosures.

Marketplace’s Mitchell Hartman reports.

Mitchell Hartman: It’s hard to knock the biggest lenders in the country cutting desperate homeowners some slack just as folks are gathering ‘round the Christmas tree.

But this could turn out to be less than a big deal. First, it’ll be over pretty fast.

Guy Cecala: It’s going to be back to business three or four weeks from now when the holiday season ends.

Guy Cecala publishes Inside Mortgage Finance. He says banks will quickly catch up on the tens of thousands of evictions they delay. Plus, he says, banks are going to restart home seizures, now that a big legal settlement over foreclosure abuses is moving forward.

The moratorium will help a few—who find a Miracle on 34th , or whatever street they happen to live on.

Gail Cunningham of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

Gail Cunningham: You know, if someone could land a job during that period, and convince their lender that they have a plan to catch up on their past-due payments, then it could be all it takes to stay in that home.

That’s not in the cards for Telma and Erick Caravantes, though. They stopped paying the mortgage on their well-kept bungalow in Portland, Ore., after Telma was laid off as a home-health aid. With just Erick’s minimum-wage job at a grocery store, they couldn’t keep up and the bank is foreclosing.

Erick Caravantes: No tengo una communication abierta con el banco.

Caravantes says he’s hasn’t had any communication from his bank in weeks. He’s not sure whether the family’s covered by the halt to foreclosures. So his wife and kids are stripping the Christmas tree and boxing up the ornaments, just in case.

I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

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