Community group sees flood of foreclosures heading to Cook County

More than 92,000 properties in Cook County, Ill., went into foreclosure during the past year and a half, while banks repossessed 35,080 homes, according to a new report from the National People’s Action group. The group, which describes itself as a network of community organizations, said three out of every five foreclosures in Cook County — the nation’s second most populous county — were tied to Bank of America (BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Citibank (C) and U.S. Bank. Cook County is home to nearly 5.2 million residents. National People’s Action gathered homeowners Tuesday outside the Drake Hotel in Chicago to welcome state attorneys general as they arrived for a national meeting. The group said the point of the gathering was to encourage AGs to stand firm in their push for a $25 billion settlement with mortgage servicers. The organization’s report warned that 48% of all foreclosures in Cook County during the past 18 months were on loans with prime-interest rates. The agency said this shows the “foreclosure crisis has impacted a wider population of homeowners.” In the report, the National People’s Action group notes foreclosure starts are high, but the number of completed foreclosures has fallen 50% since October due to moratoriums and delays implemented by banks and servicers. With those pools of loans expected to make their way back into the foreclosure pipeline, the agency said an influx of new distressed properties will flood the market in the latter part of 2011. While many housing activists continue to focus on distressed homeowners, another report is highlighting the concerns of thousands of renters who have been displaced after institutions foreclosed on rental properties. The Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing recently reported that 6,000 apartment buildings in Chicago went into foreclosure, impacting more than 17,000 rental units. Write to: Kerri Panchuk.

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