Fighting foreclosures in Wisconsin - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Fighting foreclosures in Wisconsin


MADISON (WKOW) -- A task force makes four recommendations to try to prevent future home foreclosures.  The group says foreclosures in Wisconsin could top 25,000 this year.

With home foreclosures climbing, now 30 percent higher than last year, time is not a luxury during this economic climate.

Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan of Janesville says a task force has put together the "best practices" to address the problem.

"We'll see some legislative very early in the session," says Sheridan.

The 22 member committee is made up of financial experts and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.  They held listening sessions in all corners of the state, including one in Baraboo in July.

The group now wants action.  One proposed bill would require education standards so potential buyers better understand the financial risks with their mortgage.

Another would require home appraisers to have a license.  Right now, Wisconsin is one of just four states without this law on the books.

Democratic Representative Leon Young of Milwaukee, who chaired the task force, says it's long overdue.

"Maybe a house should have been appraised at $100,000 and it came in at $160,000 or $170,000," Young says.

Also a proposed, an abandonment notification that would require county clerks to notify municipal clerks when a home is declared vacant.

The fourth proposal includes what is called fiduciary duty.  It means mortgage brokers have to put their clients' financial interests above their own.

"Depending on the products that were offered and the compensation they received for those products, I think in many respects that did cloud judgement," says Dan Imhoff, task force member and residential lending manager at State Bank of Cross Plains.

Speaker Sheridan says stabilizing the state's foreclosure rate has to be a priority, but adds it stems from a much larger issue.

"You have to fix the primary problem before you can fix the other problem, and the primary problem is jobs," he says.

The task force also came up with non-legislative recommendations.  Some of those ideas include more financial-based curriculum in schools and a statewide foreclosure education campaign.

Speaker Sheridan expects bipartisan support.  The four bills will be taken up separately.



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