Partners (Number 3, 2008)

Overcoming Foreclosure Information Overload

Atlanta Fed Community Affairs Officer, Juan Sanchez
Juan C. Sanchez
Vice President and
Community Affairs Officer

If you search for the word foreclosure online, you will get over 50 million hits. There are over half a million hits under the foreclosure resource heading. These sites vary greatly in what they offer. Some focus on homeowners and others are designed for investors, academics, nonprofits or government organizations. They may provide consumer information, market data, research or links to other sites. Many offer products and services for consumers and investors—usually for a fee.

This information overload can be very confusing and frustrating. Furthermore it is often difficult to distinguish between legitimate and fraudulent sites, prime and predatory products.

In an effort to provide the most up-to-date information about foreclosure and the housing market, the Federal Reserve System has launched an online Foreclosure Resource Center at each of our 12 Banks. These websites are one-stop-shops that offer national and regional data and other information to support a range of inquiries. Our Fed Foreclosure Resource Centers should be useful for community-based organizations, government agencies, financial institutions and concerned consumers.

For consumers, especially homeowners and homebuyers, the Fed's Foreclosure Resource Centers provide descriptions of loan options and alternatives to foreclosure. The site includes a video that outlines foreclosure law, describes the foreclosure process and advises home-owners who are unable to make mortgage payments. Additional information on the site helps consumers understand how different mortgage products will affect their particular situations. For families in financial difficulty, the site lists contact information for reputable agencies that can provide help, including a foreclosure prevention hotline and websites that offer resource information, credit and legal services, and consumer counseling.

Foreclosure Resource Centers refer researchers and policymakers to recent research papers, pertinent articles, speeches and presentations, and other useful materials. Also posted are local and national Fed-sponsored events on developing foreclosure-mitigation strategies, including the system's Recovery, Renewal, Rebuilding conference series.

For bankers, policymakers and those in the legal field, the site contains links to materials that address policy issues and changes in regulations. These include amendments to Reg Z, summary information on the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, press releases on final rules, and information about examinations and loan modification.

The Fed's Foreclosure Resource Centers also offer dynamic maps and data that track levels of foreclosure across the U.S., thus providing valuable information about specific markets for researchers and community groups.

Our web address is http://www.frbatlanta.org/comm_affairs/frc.cfm. We will continue to update this site with new information about the mortgage industry and foreclosure issues. The Atlanta Fed is proud of our System's collective effort to provide useful information to a diverse audience.