Bank of America (BAC) wants to clear out the backlog of distressed homes in Florida by speeding up approvals of short sales.

The Charlotte banking giant, which as of last fall had the servicing rights for more than 250,000 delinquent loans in Florida, has been working with the real estate software company Equator, to develop a program that would allow it to approve short sales in as little as 20 days, the Tampa Bay Times reported Wednesday. Because it has such a backlog of past-due mortgages, Bank of America has sometimes frustrated buyers by taking six months or longer to approve a short sale.

Rick Simon, a B of A spokesman, told the Tampa Bay Times that the program is being rolled out nationwide but will particularly prominent in Florida. The goal, he said, is to limit the number of foreclosures in the state.

B of A also intends to implement some new policies that could speed up the short-sale process, including limiting the number of counteroffers prospective buyers could submit and streamlining the amount of paperwork sellers must submit. Buyers and sellers will often have to fax multiple documents to various offices as part of the short-sale process, but with the new program all documents will be loaded and stored in one computer system.

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