Bankers, legislators want less information, fewer public notices of foreclosures

Published 11:44 am Tuesday, February 21, 2023

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For many years, notices of foreclosures have been published in local newspapers. Yes, there is a charge for it.
Public notices of foreclosures are intended to make the public aware of pending foreclosure sales and attract potential buyers. Current law requires that public notices must be published in a newspaper of general circulation within the county where the foreclosed property is located. Usually, the foreclosure notice runs three times within 20 days of the sale.
Now, the Tennessee Bankers Association and the Tennessee Legislature want to remove these notices from local newspapers and move them to a state website. Yes, there will still be a charge to post them on the state website, but that money will now go the state rather than the newspaper and back into the local community.
Some lawmakers and even banks say the newspaper advertisements can be confusing and are rarely read and add to the cost of foreclosures. But, oftentimes it gives the homeowner time to secure funding to keep their home.
But, it will be just as confusing on the state website, and will cost to post there, too. In fact, less people may see it on the state website than if it were in the local newspaper.
The proposed law is meant to be just another nail in the coffin of local newspapers.
Earlier this month the Pulaski Citizen noted in an article that as of Feb. 15 it will quit publishing a paper. It’s a story playing out across our country every week. Declining advertising and subscription revenues combined with increasing costs were blamed for the newspaper’s closure.
“The reasons are many, and the blame can be pointed wherever you choose to put it, but the reality remains that as Feb. 15, Giles County will have no newspaper or news platform solely for covering local news, sports, events, government, and people,” the publisher Scott Stewart wrote.
“There are a lot of reasons why our country is losing an average of two newspapers per week. Social media, financial stresses, environmental concerns, perceptions, changing attitudes, unrealistic expectations, but, probably most of all, in my opinion, apathy.
“Blame it on the changes in attitudes towards news that have been coming for a long time, and the prevailing attitude is that the time has come and gone for the idea of holding a newspaper in your hand. It seems that same attitude also prevails for
any kind of real community reporting,” Stewart continued in his farewell article.
People gets their news from other media…that is why they keep their phone in their hand at all times or stay glued to their computer.
Like most local newspapers, telling your stories is a privilege and a task we take seriously. We also take seriously the connection we have with our readers and the people in the Elizabethton community.
We regret seeing any newspaper close, and as devastating as it is for any community to lose its local newspaper, for those of us who cherish what local news is and means to a community, so many people in Pulaski will never realize what they’ve lost until it’s gone. That may be the saddest part of the whole thing.
No newspaper can survive without the support of the community – its subscribers and readers, businesses, and government agencies. We depend on each other.
That’s why it hurt to see our state legislators back a law that will take foreclosures out of local newspapers and put them on a state website that the state will profit from. It’s like taking a cookie from a child’s hand. What will come next?
And, shame on our local legislators if they vote for the measure.

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