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Business Observer Friday, Apr. 10, 2009 12 years ago

Lee banks avoid foreclosures

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For the most part, community banks in Lee County have avoided the worst of the residential foreclosures, according to figures tallied by Jeff Tumbarello at the Southwest Florida Real Estate Investors Association.

For the most part, community banks in Lee County have avoided the worst of the residential foreclosures, according to figures tallied by Jeff Tumbarello at the Southwest Florida Real Estate Investors Association.

Lee County has become the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis, consistently ranking among the top areas in the country by the rate of foreclosures per household over the last year. The association reported 2,217 foreclosure filings in March, a 24% increase over the same month a year ago.

But a close look at the filings indicates that no local community bank was among the top filers. The top five financial institutions filing residential foreclosure notices in Lee County in March were Countrywide, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Deutsche Bank.

“The foreclosure problem is not really affecting the smaller banks,” says Tumbarello. But, he notes, “The smaller banks that did the right thing will be asked to fund the mistakes for the bigger brothers.”

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