03/30/2012 06:45 pm ET Updated May 29, 2012

Foreclosures Down, but Not for Long

January and February saw declines in our nation's foreclosure rates, part of the ongoing stall while five major banks waited for the terms of a $26 billion settlement agreement. Now finalized, that settlement also provides guidelines the bank must use for future foreclosures.

Those guidelines are expected to steer banks through the foreclosure process. With specific details on how to handle foreclosures now in writing, the road is paved for banks to speed the processing of foreclosures. As a result, we can expect to see an increase in new foreclosures, including a large number of delinquent homeowners who were given a reprieve when banks voluntarily delayed new filings after claims of foreclosure abuses and improper handling.

Included in the settlement were Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Ally Financial, and Wells Fargo. With new guidelines in hand, they are now armed to tackle the backlog of default mortgages. While national foreclosure rates did drop in February, they depicted an increase since January. In fact, 21 states reported an increase, not a decrease, in foreclosures during February.

The cities of Tampa and Miami showed significant swells of 64 percent and 53 percent, respectively.

Experts are projecting future increases in foreclosures and repossessions as the banks align their practices with the terms of the settlement. Nevada, California, Arizona, Georgia and Florida are already stepping up their filings. It's a trend we can expect other states to follow, marking an end to the reduction in foreclosures we've seen since 2010.

David vs Goliath

Loan Modification Guru Reveals How Homeowners Can Challenge the Big Banks and Save Their Home

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