CitiMortgage, the servicing arm of Citigroup (C), will suspend foreclosures in coastal areas affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. After the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig leased by British Petroleum, between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels a day are flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, according the latest figures from the Obama Administration. The suspension will last three months and will go into effect June 17 and end Sept. 17. All foreclosure sales and evictions on REO properties will halt in the region during that time. The foreclosure suspension affects borrowers occupying homes in ZIP codes within roughly 25 miles of the coastline including Louisiana, Mississppi, Alabama and the Gulf Coast of Florida. It would total 515 counties, according a Citi spokesperson. Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citi, said the initiative aims to help residents in effected areas concentrate on more urgent matters. “In the midst of this crisis, we will continue to explore ways to help people avoid foreclosure so they and their families can remain in their homes and have one less thing to worry about,” Pandit said. Citi reported 900,000 borrowers have avoided potential foreclosure since 2007 through its variety of other assistance programs. Write to Jon Prior. The author holds no relevant investments.

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