Independent Bank temporarily suspends foreclosures


    Independent Bank Corp. just announced that it’s suspending all foreclosures for Independent Bank owner-occupied loans for the next three weeks, while it awaits further details of the federal government’s proposed plans for assisting homeowners. President Obama’s administration is currently working on efforts to allocate $50 billion toward foreclosure prevention and to establish national standards for modifying home loans.

    The  foreclosure moratorium applies to all first mortgage, owner-occupied loans held in the bank’s portfolio. Although Independent Bank services mortgages that are backed by government-sponsored entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it cannot make changes to those loans without agency consent. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently announced they have halted evictions from foreclosed properties until next month. The company noted that Independent Bank was recently recognized by Fannie Mae for its efforts in successfully pursuing loan workouts and modifications during 2008.

    Independent Bank received  $72 million in the fourth quarter 2008 through its participation in the U.S. Treasury Capital Purchase Program. Those funds have enabled the company to continue actively pursuing loan modifications and work-outs in lieu of foreclosure for mortgage loan customers experiencing financial difficulty, and to seek new lending opportunities, the bank indicated.

    “We recognize the impact this challenging economic environment has had on our customers,” said President and CEO Michael M. Magee. “Our decision to suspend foreclosures is just one of the many ways that Independent Bank continues to work with customers to help them save their homes during these difficult times.”

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