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TALLAHASSEE – Bankers in Florida have been pushing legislation to reduce the amount of time it takes to foreclose on a home, but concerns seemed to have stopped the legislation dead in its tracks.
A busload of home owners facing foreclosure came to the Capitol Wednesday to drive a stake in the heart of the bill.
Florida bankers have been trying to get lawmakers to reduce the time it takes to foreclose from as long as two years to as little as 90 days.
The proposal has upset homeowners who are facing foreclosure from across the state. They came to the Capitol with signs and stories of being misled and mistreated.
Lisa Epstein / Homeowner: “Before this debacle happened in my personal life, I had never paid a bill late.”
Lisa came from Palm Beach, Elisa Slack from Pensacola.
Elisa Shack / Facing Foreclosure: “You could lose your house in as little as 30 days without having to go to court, so you wouldn’t even get heard by a judge. Who wins in that case? The banks do.”
After telling their stories, organizers gave them their marching orders.
Mark Weidner / Attorney: “Every single one of you are going to go and meet your legislators. You’re going to explain to them the problem, you’re going to tell them why you are up here.”
Inside the Capitol, they searched for friendly faces.
The legislation is all but dead here on the Capitol’s fourth floor. The bankers are pleading for mercy, saying “we’re being misunderstood.” Bankers are defending their push, saying homeowners will decide if a foreclosure gets on the fast track or not. They also argue that foreclosure reform is the path to a healthier economy.
Anthony De Marco / FL. Bankers Assn.: “If we get the property back faster with title, we can pay the condo dues that are owed, we can start maintaining the home, or better yet, sell it to someone who will move in.”
While the legislation is on life support, the bankers are also pushing for more judges to handle the backlog of cases.
The legislation could also give some much-needed relief to the court system, which is backed up with an estimated half-million foreclosure cases.