JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. agreed Friday to halt foreclosures until mid-March, after House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank called for a moratorium until the Obama administration details its plan to reduce foreclosures.
JPMorgan Chase also said it is installing "homeownership centers" in 24 locations around the country, so struggling borrowers can meet face to face with counselors and try to rework their mortgages.
The New York company announced that it had set up four such offices in California to help borrowers whose loans were serviced by its mortgage unit, Washington Mutual Inc. (whose banking operations JPMorgan Chase acquired last year), or EMC Mortgage (a unit of Bear Stearns Cos., which JPMorgan Chase also bought last year).
Tom Kelly, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, said the centers typically will occupy the front-office space of bank branches and home loan offices.
JPMorgan Chase said it expects to set up nine centers in California and five in Florida by the end of next month.
Mr. Kelly said it chose to set up the centers in cities that have a high percentage of delinquent loans.