Friday, June 18, 2010

FNC to Build Gulf Coast Oil Crisis Web Site

No one is quite sure what will be successful in stopping the oil bubbling up into the Gulf of Mexico or what impact it will have on the people that live and work along the Gulf Coast, but one company wants to find out. Oxford, Miss.-based FNC is creating an online map, that it says will track the sale prices and home values of Gulf Coast homes since the BP oil spill began in May and will continue to offer this info free until the crisis ends.

To facilitate this, FNC has invited Gulf Coast-area real estate professionals to provide information for the new web site.  The Collateral Vision Gulf Coast Crisis Website—available this fall—will map property values from the Gulf Coast at least 50 miles inland.

Mortgage technology company FNC is encouraging industry professionals in the affected areas—community bankers, lenders, appraisers, real estate brokers, bank managers—to use the site to post photos, narrative, blog entries, and comments describing what they discover about the oil spill’s impact on home values and sales.

“We hope the web site will become a repository of detailed news about how lenders, loan servicers, and insurers are responding to homeowners whose incomes and mortgages have been affected by the oil spill,” said Carol Luitjens, FNC’s chief marketing officer.

Also on the site, FNC experts will discuss how appraisers might evaluate the impact of the oil spill fairly and accurately, how the spill may affect homeowners trying to refinance, and how an enormous number of insurance claims may affect the mortgage and lending industries.

Eventually, visitors to the site will be able to enter a zip code and recover a wealth of information about current residential property values and trends within 100 miles of the Gulf Coast.

This could send a clear message to federal regulators regarding the size and scope of the damages, which should aid them in reaching a settlement with BP. If all goes well, the well will be plugged before the FNC site goes live. If not, it could provide a record of the worst environmental catastrophe in American history.

Too bad no one thought of this in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

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