Moratorium Gains Another Supporter

The PNC Financial Services Group Inc. (PNC) on Tuesday announced it had initiated a moratorium on new and pending mortgage foreclosures. The announcement means the Pittsburgh-based company has joined a handful of banking entities financial institutions that answered the call of Office of Thrift Supervision director John Reich and Barney Frank, who both urged a temporary foreclosure halt earlier this week — one that would last until the foreclosure prevention plan announced by Treasury Department secretary Tim Geithner can go into effect. Citigroup Inc. (C), JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Fannie Mae (FNM), Freddie Mac (FRE) and Independent Bank Corp. (IBCP) so far have joined together in implementing foreclosure moratoriums. PNC’s moratorium will apply to mortgage loans owned and serviced by PNC — which on Dec. 31 received more than $7.5 billion through the capital purchase program — and National City Mortgage — which is now a part of PNC — and will expire March 13, “or upon the start of the anticipated U.S. government’s loan modification program,” officials said in a media statement. While the moratorium is in place, PNC said it will continue to pursue loan modifications including reduced rates, extended payback terms, forbearance agreements and payment plans. “PNC wants to help as many customers as possible to remain in their homes,” said president Joseph Guyaux. President Barack Obama is expected as early as late Tuesday to unveil a $50 billion foreclosure prevention plan with Geithner as part of the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program. The announcement should follow the President’s signing of the sweeping and historic $787 billion financial stimulus package, which passed through House and Senate votes late Friday. Write to Diana Golobay at Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade.

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