Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, has criticized the federal government for giving banks a ‘free pass’ to abandon foreclosed homes in his state, which he attributes to rising crime rates and increased neighborhood blight.
‘Too many Wall Street banks are walking away from too many Ohio Main Street communities,’ Brown said in a statement issued by his office. ‘And when they do, they leave behind homes that are often vandalized and left to crumble. Ohioans are seeing their property values plummet as abandoned homes on their block or in their neighborhood are left to decay or stripped of anything of value. Meanwhile, cities and counties are left footing the bill for banks' irresponsibility.’
Brown specifically faulted the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for enabling the practice of ‘abandoned foreclosures’ – also known as ‘bank walkaways’ – in which banks decline to take possession of properties after initiating the foreclosure process. He also called for the passage of the Foreclosure Fraud Prevention and Homeowner Protection Act to halt abandoned foreclosures and encouraged the empowerment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to ‘speak for Ohio homeowners.’
"It's in everyone's interest – from banks and homeowners, to our communities and local governments – to find ways to keep people in their homes,’ Brown stated.