WBEZ: Some lenders halt evictions over the holidays

By Susie An

Starting this week, some banks are halting evictions during the holiday season. A number of lenders including Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Fannie Mae are putting a moratorium on evictions starting this week until just after the New Year.

But some housing experts say the program is nothing more than a token gesture. Eithne McMenamin is associate director of policy with Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

“From our experience with renters in foreclosed buildings, banks have the ability to keep good tenants who are paying their rent in their home. On the other 351 days of the year, they almost always choose to evict these renters,” she said.

The latest report from RealtyTrac shows Illinois with the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate. Foreclosure filings increased by six percent in October compared to the previous month.

Fannie Mae says legal and administrative proceedings for evictions may continue during the moratorium.