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News Release

GOING ONCE, GOING TWICE, THE CLERK’S FORECLOSURE AUCTIONS ARE GOING ONLINE!

Clerk Bock Uses Technology to Make the Selling and Buying of Foreclosed Properties Easier

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (December 10, 2009) – The days of auctioning properties on the courthouse steps are nearly over. Starting January 21, 2010, the office of Palm Beach County Clerk & Comptroller Sharon Bock will begin conducting foreclosure sales online. The new service is part of Clerk Bock’s ongoing effort to save time and money while using technology to improve efficiencies, customer conveniences and access to the courts.

“Online foreclosure auctions will allow attorneys, bank representatives and the general public to research and bid on properties from anywhere in the world, avoiding a trip to the courthouse,” said Clerk Bock.  “The foreclosure process will also be more transparent with the public being able to go online to view bidding or the results of auctions.”

Technology Implemented at Critical Time
Online auctions will replace in-person sales at the courthouse—a change that’s also expected to save the Clerk’s office time, money and limited staff resources. By automating the auction, the office expects to save at least 2,600 work hours a year—allowing those resources to be dedicated to other foreclosure-related clerk duties.

“With the record-number of foreclosure cases filed in Palm Beach County, along with our unprecedented budget cuts, every hour and every dollar that can be saved counts,” said Bock.

During 2009, the State Legislature cut $7.1 million, or 18 percent, from the Clerk’s budget here in Palm Beach County. More than 100 Clerk employees lost their jobs and the office lost the equivalent of 210,000 work-hours.

There are currently more than 45,000 pending foreclosure cases in Palm Beach County, with an average of 2500 new cases being filed each month in 2009. The Clerk’s office currently conducts two to three live foreclosure sales weekly, selling anywhere from 80-150 properties at each auction.  Online auctions will also have set auction days and set times to bid on each property.

Training Available
The foreclosure auction site, which will be accessible through www.mypalmbeachclerk.com, will first go live on January 6, 2010. At that time, bidders can begin registering, placing deposits and researching properties. Through the new site, users can save time by clicking on a case to see the docket without having to search through the court records database.

When the site is live, interested potential users can utilize helpful online training. In-person training classes are available for the public on January 5, 2010, at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the Clerk & Comptroller’s Learning Center in room 5.1304 of the Main Courthouse, 205 N. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, Fla.   To register, e-mail MMcMillan@mypalmbeachclerk.com or call (561) 355-6824. Attendance is by registration only.

The training classes will be administered by Grant Street Group, the facilitator of Palm Beach County’s online foreclosure auctions. The company provides online auction services for government and private financial institutions around the world. As established by Florida law, there will be a $60 fee charged to each winning bidder.  That fee offsets the cost of contracting with an online foreclosure provider. The Florida Legislature approved the electronic sale of foreclosed properties in 2008.

For more information, please visit the Online Foreclosure Sales page, or call (561) 355-2996.

The Florida Constitution established the independent office of the Clerk & Comptroller as a public trustee, responsible for safeguarding public records and public funds. Clerk Sharon Bock is directly elected by and accountable to Palm Beach County residents.  In addition to the roles of Clerk of the Circuit Court, County Recorder and Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, the Clerk & Comptroller is the Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Auditor for Palm Beach County.

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