Bank of America to expand program for short sales
Expanding a program that began in Florida, Bank of America plans to entice more distressed homeowners across the county to sell houses in short sales by offering up to $30,000 in relocation money.
The bank tested the program in the fall in Florida, where more than 11,000 homeowners agreed to participate.
The new plan, announced Tuesday, will pay borrowers between $2,500 to $30,000 for moving expenses when a short sale is finalized. The bank expects the greatest response from customers in Florida, California, Nevada and Arizona — states hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis.
Florida homeowners who didn't enroll in the test program can now apply for the new plan.
The relocation money will be based on the home's value and mortgage amount. To be eligible, the short sale must be initiated by the end of this year and close by Sept. 26, 2013, the bank said.
The Florida-only program targeted 20,000 homeowners and paid between $5,000 and $20,000. The bank was also waiving the difference between the unpaid mortgage and amount of the short sale, which allowed homeowners to walk away without still owing the bank a big chunk of money.
Since October, Bank of America has rolled out multiple initiatives to speed up short sales and to prevent foreclosures. Last month, it announced plans to approve some short sales in less than 20 days.
The bank serviced 1.1 million Florida mortgages, of which about 253,000 were delinquent as of late last year.
Tampa to get updated cruise ship in next year
Royal Caribbean International will be replacing the Jewel of the Seas, its cruise ship currently based in Tampa, with its sister ship, the Brilliance of the Seas, next year.
Before coming to Tampa, the 2,112-passenger Brilliance of the Seas will undergo a complete renovation. Additions to the ship will include more dining and entertainment options, WiFi and an outdoor LED video wall.
In October 2013, the Brilliance of the Seas will set sail from Boston, Mass., on a 13-night cruise through the Caribbean that will end in Tampa. The ship will offer four-night cruises to Cozumel, Mexico, and five-night cruises to Cozumel, Mexico, and the Cayman Islands.
The Jewel of the Seas will move to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and continue to offer cruises throughout the southern Caribbean.