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Lawmakers seek to shorten the amount of time to stop a bank foreclosure

Foreclosed house in Ypsilanti Township
Rebecca Williams
The Environment Report
Habitat for Humanity says fixing up foreclosed houses is cheaper than building new.

Opponents of a plan to change the foreclosure process in Michigan say it would put more people out of their homes and hurt property values.

They were in Lansing today to protest a package of bills in the state Legislature.

The legislation would shorten the amount of time homeowners have to stop a bank foreclosure from six months to two months.

Ingham County Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel Jr. says banks have wrongly foreclosed on thousands of properties across the state.

He says it often takes months for people to prove they don’t deserve to lose their home.

“If you’ve ever dealt with Bank of America, trying to get an individual person on the phone several times is a very difficult process. Getting a call back is a very difficult process. To think that within 60 days we’re going to actually solve these problems, I think is just - it’s frankly insane,” said Hertel Jr.

The legislation would also add 30 days to the grace period before the foreclosure proceedings begin.

Supporters of the plan say that would help homeowners avoid having their homes seized. They say the bills would reduce blight and cut costs for banks and their customers.

Bill sponsor Senator Darwin Booher (R-Evart), a former banker, says making the process easier for banks would benefit consumers.

“The cost to the foreclosure, it passes to the bottom line. That’s the cost to my checking account. That’s the cost to me in the interest rate that I pay. [It] all filters to the bottom line,” Booher said.

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