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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

McCollum reports progress on mortgage front



Attorney General Bill McCollum said he is making progress in helping people in troubled mortgages, but acknowledges the state can't force the national banks to lower the rates because it has no regulatory authority.

He met with Bank of America executives Wednesday who assured him that they would put staff in Florida in January to meet with people to modify their home loans, instead of forcing homeowners to call a toll-free phone number.

"They are at least going to come in and make some effort to have some person-to-person, face-to-face contact and it's something I think is critical to do," McCollum said this morning before entering the Clemency Board hearing. "I think it's outrageous that banks have not provided this."

It's no coincidence that McCollum is highlighting his meeting with Bank of America -- the company of his gubernatorial rival CFO Alex Sink -- even though he has asked all major bank presidents to meet with him. But McCollum denied politics had anything to do with it. "There is no politics to this at all," he said, noting that BofA assumed Countrywide, the company with the largest number of trouble mortgages in Florida.

McCollum said state officials need to put pressure on Congress to push banks to help those with trouble mortgages.

-- John Frank

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:09pm]


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