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BofA partners with Chicago to work through neighborhood blight

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Bank of America (BAC) will donate 150 abandoned properties in default to the city of Chicago and local nonprofits for either redevelopment or demolition. The initiative is part of a new Cook County circuit court call that intends to move confirmed abandoned properties through the foreclosure process and stabilize neighborhoods affected by blight. BofA began a similar program in Detroit, helping to identify 100 vacant properties for demolition. The bank will contribute to the cost of the operations. "In addition to helping support social efforts, Bank of America is working with the city to help protect residents and communities from the dangers posed by vacant properties," said Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. "This vacant and abandoned building initiative is a perfect example of public-private partnerships that have moved Chicago forward." BofA said the court call, created under Chief Judge Timothy Evans, will reduce foreclosure timelines on vacant properties in the city from a current average of 18 months. The bank also invited 1,600 local borrowers to meet with homeownership specialists and opened an assistance center for those behind on their mortgage payments. "Bank of America is committed to a comprehensive neighborhood stabilization approach to help support our customers and the communities we serve and live in," said Tim Maloney, president of BofA's Illinois market. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.

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