Gov. Mike Easley is backing legislation designed to limit home foreclosures over the next few years. Easley appeared at a news conference on Tuesday with Rep. Dan Blue, D-Wake, the bill sponsor, and State Commissioner of Banks Joe Smith to tout the legislation, which would require a minimum of 45 days notice before foreclosure proceedings. Easley said the bill, which also would allow Smith to work with lenders and borrowers to reach agreements to avoid foreclosures, has the potential to prevent 25,000 at-risk mortgages from failing. "This is not a bailout," Easley said. "This is not the state trying to subsidize banks."
The bill would also require mortgage companies to notify the state about delinquent home loans and give the banking commissioner the ability to delay foreclosures for an additional 30 days if a settlement looks possible. Easley credited North Carolina's predatory lending laws with limiting the number of at-risk mortgages here. But foreclosures still increased 9 percent in 2007, according to his office. "Foreclosure means not only tragedy for the families that may be involved, but the communities," Blue said. "It drives down home values." Sen. Walter Dalton, D-Rutherford, who has also sponsored legislation intended to stem foreclosures, also spoke at the event. (THE INSIDER, 7/02/08).