Wide foreclosure publication helps process, bankers say

Limited publication of foreclosure notices in Mesa County could have economic implications that could hinder recovery, bank presidents and real estate agents said.

“When notices are going out, our expectation is that they would go to the entire community,” U.S. Bank President Steve Gunderson said.

Mesa County Public Trustee Paul Brown this week is switching publication of new foreclosure notices to the Fruita Times and Palisade Tribune from The Daily Sentinel. The next run of foreclosure notices is to begin Thursday. Notices are to be published for five consecutive weeks.

The Fruita and Palisade publications might technically qualify as newspapers of general circulation, but they fall short of reaching Grand Valley residents where most of them live, Gunderson said.

“Those other papers aren’t on my doorstep,” Gunderson said.

Banks also are required to make sure they handle such transactions openly and above-board, Gunderson said. Publication of those notices in smaller papers “makes compliance with those laws less realistic,” he said.

Greenwood Village-based Villager Newspapers, which owns the smaller papers, has promised Brown it will make the foreclosure notices generally available through the county, Brown has said. People who want the information contained in the notices will find it, Brown has maintained.

More participation “is always a good thing,” said Vance Wagner, regional president for American National Bank, noting however, that change to the smaller publications “is not troubling to us” from a banking perspective.

Maximum exposure to information such as foreclosure notices, however, is part of the reason the state requires that they be published, said Steve Irion, Wells Fargo’s community bank president for Grand Junction and Clifton.

“It’s in our interest to have as many people as possible” have convenient access to the notices, Irion said. “It just doesn’t make economic sense” to stop publication in the region’s largest daily newspaper.

“If you think about it, with a public notice, the more eyes that see it, the better. That’s the whole point,” said Craig Springer, president of Home Loan State Bank.

Springer and David Durham, a Grand Junction Realtor, said they look to foreclosure notices as a quick barometer for the Grand Valley economy.

“I have gotten in the habit of counting the pages” to get a general idea of the number of foreclosures, Durham said. Like others, he also scans the notices for a bit more specific information about the community.

“I’m not looking for any specific reason,” Durham said, “just to see what’s going on.”

Limiting the publication to the Fruita and Palisade publications will make it more difficult to gauge the economy in general and better understand the region, Durham said.

Placing the notices on MesaCountyLegals.com also will fall short of his needs, Durham noted.

The website, which is now online, contains PDF versions of legal notices supplied to Brown’s office and a telephone number with a 720 area code for additional information.


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