Posted Tuesday, November 25, 2008 --- 11:04 p.m.
Reporter: Zac Schultz
A local credit union is following the lead of two of the nation's biggest lenders and holding off on foreclosures over the holidays.
The idea is not to give someone a Merry Christmas, but to buy time to find a way to keep people in their homes.
Thursday evening, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced they were putting a moratorium on their home foreclosures until January 9th.
"Those sales and evictions would be halted temporarily," said Lyle Wermund from Blackhawk Community Credit Union.
Wermund says a majority of the loans written by Blackhawk Community Credit Union are sold to Fannie Mae.
"When I got in Friday morning, I had e-mails and voicemails from people who were in that situation," he said. "Those who were going to be losing their home in the next two or three weeks."
The reason for the moratorium is new programs designed to help people stay in their homes could be announced in the next couple weeks.
"There are some more programs coming out," Wemund said. "We've heard some rumors on them - extending terms, lowering interest rates, maybe forgiving debt."
Wermund says they decided to extend the moratorium to all their customers - even if they don't have a loan through Fannie Mae - just in case they can be helped, too.
"It's maybe a dozen or less that's affected, but if you're one of those families it's 100 percent," he said.
"I'm sure there are Wisconsin residents who are benefitting from Fannie and Freddie's decision today," said Rose Oswald Poels of the Wisconsin Bankers Association.
She hasn't heard of any banks following the Blackhawk Credit Union's lead, but that doesn't mean people facing foreclosure shouldn't ask.
"Just because [the banks] aren't publicizing something in the media doesn't mean there aren't options available for you at your local bank," she said. "Just go and talk to your lender."
The moratorium isn't a guarantee people won't lose their homes eventually, but at least it's six more weeks to look for a solution.
The Fannie and Freddie foreclosure moratorium is expected to help 16,000 homeowners across the country.