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Patrolling the streets, code enforcement officers can find several abandoned homes on Indio’s Albion Drive. But when they want to do something about these eyesores, they’re having a difficult time finding who is responsible for these bank-owned homes.

Indio Police Chief Brad Ramos explained, “Our other problem banks that we have are Washington Mutual and Wells Fargo bank. So with two banks that are major banks in the United States that when you have difficulties getting who the responsible party is for the property, it makes it difficult.”

Foreclosed homes are magnets for crime. We found one house up for auction in Indio where one can walk right in an open door at the side of the house. It would be easy to trash the place and steal all the copper wiring to all the appliances.

Washington Mutual responded to the city of Indio’s claims. In a statement, they said “we recognize that foreclosures can have an affect on communities and are committed to working with local officials.”

Wells Fargo also responded saying “we appreciate and share the city’s concerns about property preservation issues, and we work diligently to protect property values to promote the economic health of our communities. We have an active property preservation practice through which we begin to maintain foreclosed properties immediately upon receiving the legal authority to do so. We were unaware of any issues with the City of Indio regarding this registration, but are committed to working with them to identify problematic properties and take the necessary steps to secure and maintain the properties within the city limits for which we are responsible. We will be contacting city officials very soon to begin working toward a resolution.”

Troubled Countrywide Financial actually gets the highest praise from the city of Indio.

“We have one bank cooperating very well with us. Countrywide is one of the banks helping us identify and register property,” said Police Chief Ramos.

Neighbors of these abandoned homes say they’ll just start taking care of the properties themselves trying to keep their street from becoming attractive to criminals.

Police Chief Ramos and the city’s delegation are now in Washington, D.C. They’re among five cities getting federal help for the foreclosure crisis in a Department of Justice workshop.

KESQ News Team


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