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Foreclosure sales plummeted in May after federal banking authorities reminded lenders to play by the rules when foreclosing on homes, according to a report released Wednesday.
Sales at courthouse auctions fell from April to May a combined 25 percent in Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda and Contra Costa counties, according to PropertyRadar, a Truckee company that tracks distressed property. There were similar declines across California, the company said.
In early May, some of the major lenders "just stopped their foreclosure sales" after receiving a guidance letter from two federal agencies, said Madeline Schnapp of PropertyRadar, which issued the report.
Banks responded differently to the guidance letter sent in late April, said Schnapp of PropertyRadar.
Even though Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Citi were already operating under the rules, some of them slowed foreclosures temporarily.
JPMorgan Chase halted foreclosure sales briefly and then resumed, Schnapp said. Bank of America "never slowed down," she said, while Citi's foreclosure sales were down 50 percent and Wells Fargo's were down 75 percent.
"We're assuming Citi and Wells will come back in June," she said.