Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown wants the government to force banks to stop walking away from their property responsibilities before and after foreclosure. Brown Tuesday criticized the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) for its failure to stop property “walkaways,” according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer
Walkaways, which Brown deemed “unacceptable,” occur when banks foreclose on properties but refuse to buy them back at sheriffs’ sales and increasingly before foreclosures are filed.
When banks walk away from properties, homes become abandoned and vacant, leaving taxpayers to fund demolition and other costs.
Brown believes banks must do more to help homeowners, by reducing mortgage principals to keep payments affordable. If an agreement can’t be reached, Brown said, the banks should be required to take the property back and pay for demolition costs.
Brown sponsored the Foreclosure Fraud Prevention and Homeowner Protection Act last year, and is urging Congress to pass the bill and empower the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
New guidelines issued last month by the OCC, a division of the Treasury Department, gives banks a “free pass,” complained Brown, allowing them to walk away from properties. The OCC's actions demonstrate that Wall Street still has far too much influence in Washington," Brown said.
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