Call it poetic justice: Through an innovative partnership with the Cuyahoga Land Bank, some of the lenders whose lax lending practices helped spur the national foreclosure crisis are now helping to address problems of abandonment that are rife in Cuyahoga County.
The Cuyahoga Land Bank, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to reduce urban blight and improve property values by acquiring foreclosed properties and either returning them to productive use or tearing them down, is getting some help from two new partners. Bank of America and Wells Fargo began donating vacant and foreclosed properties to the Land Bank along with a $3,500 to $7,500 contribution towards demolition in July.
Wells Fargo and Bank of America are not the only partners to contribute to this program; others include Fannie Mae, HUD and J.P. Morgan Chase.
“Each partnership we establish provides us with more resources to tackle the issues of blight created by foreclosure and abandonment in our communities,” Gus Frangos, President of the Land Bank, stated in a release.
Such collaborative approaches can also lead to solutions on a national scale, stated Russ Cross, Midwest Regional Servicing Director for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Recently, Wells Fargo announced an alliance with the National Conference of Mayors on addressing similar issues in cities across the country. Cross plans to share the Cuyahoga Land Bank model with mayors in other cities.
Many of these same lenders have also stepped up efforts to keep delinquent or at-risk homeowners in their homes. Bank of America recently launched a homeownership retention and foreclosure prevention initiative in Cleveland, including a recent mortgage modification outreach event where customers met with homeowner retention specialists over a three-day period to receive face-to-face counseling and underwriting of mortgage modification requests.
Fresh Water Cleveland, 8/18/11