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Kane courts setting up foreclosure 
mediation program

Published: Friday, Dec. 28, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Dec. 28, 2012 6:17 a.m. CDT

GENEVA – Those moving through the home foreclosure process in Kane County could soon have an additional recourse to perhaps help them stay in their homes.

Judith Brawka, chief judge of Illinois’ 16th Judicial Circuit, which covers Kane County, said the local courts have received approval from the Illinois Supreme Court to set up a foreclosure mediation process.

The program could be set up as soon as this spring, Brawka recently told the Kane County Board, although a start date has yet to be determined.

Essentially, the mediation process would work by allowing the courts to bring lenders and delinquent borrowers to the table for at least a face-to-face meeting before allowing banks to seize the properties underlying the loans that are being foreclosed upon.

Brawka said she hoped the program could help ease the foreclosure caseload that now burdens Kane County’s courts by nudging lenders to offer alternatives to delinquent homeowners.

Kane County’s judiciary had sought to establish the mediation program for the past two years, but needed to first secure permission from the state’s Supreme Court.

Brawka said the program could be funded by fees charged to lenders bringing foreclosure actions. The amount of that fee and the program’s budget have yet to be determined.

Brawka said she expects foreclosure actions will continue to roil Kane County’s courts.

“I expect the reverberations will be felt in our court system for at least five years,” Brawka said. “This project is as vital as ever.”

While the housing market in general has improved, foreclosure actions continue to plague the local market.

Real estate sales data reported by the MainStreet Organization of Realtors, for instance, indicated that foreclosed properties continue to account for 25 percent to 30 percent of all home sales in the Tri-Cities.

And through the first 11 months of 2012, the number of foreclosures in the Tri-Cities and surrounding communities had spiked compared to 2011, reaching levels not seen since 2010.

According to data supplied by foreclosure tracking company RealtyTrac, foreclosures in a nine-ZIP code area that included the Tri-Cities and the communities of Elburn, Sugar Grove, South Elgin, North Aurora, Maple Park and Campton Hills had increased about 41 percent from January-November 2012, compared to the same 11 months in 2011.

RealtyTrac reported that region had logged 2,064 foreclosures in that 11-month span, compared to 1,460 in that same period last year.

The 2012 numbers were down about 5.7 percent compared to the first 11 months of 2010, when the region suffered 2,181 foreclosures.

Foreclosures

How many homes were foreclosed upon in communities within local ZIP codes in and around the Tri-Cities in the first 11 months of 2012?

St. Charles (60174): 317

St. Charles (60175): 267

Geneva (60134): 246

Batavia (60510): 234

Elburn (60119): 157

South Elgin (60177): 457

North Aurora (60542): 218

Sugar Grove (60554): 147

Source: RealtyTrac

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