Commentary: Banks must do more to help homeowners

Earlier this month, the nation's mortgage lenders received a report card on their participation in a national effort to stop home foreclosures. Many of them flunked.

Keep that in mind next time you hear that the recession is easing. The economic slide began with a collapse of the housing market and it's not likely to make a solid recovery until the housing market stabilizes. That will require mortgage lenders to get serious about helping homeowners who have fallen behind on their payments, and so far they aren't showing much enthusiasm.

Along with Nevada, California and Arizona, Florida has seen more turmoil in its housing market than most states.

Florida accounted for 18 percent, or nearly one in five, of the 1,528,364 properties with foreclosure filings reported nationwide halfway through the year. No surprise: Broward County led the state with 36,654 properties with foreclosure filings during the first six months of 2009. Miami-Dade County came in second with 34,442.

What makes these figures particularly hard to take is that the government devised a $75 billion program earlier this year to stop the foreclosures epidemic. The Obama administration reported in early August, however, that banks have made little progress in helping homeowners in dire straits with their troubled mortgages.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Miami Herald.