Globe North Business Notebook

Foreclosure filings take leap

Email|Print| Text size + By Kathy McCabe
January 13, 2008

Foreclosures continue to pile up in Essex County, where the filings for most of 2007 outpaced other areas of Massachusetts, according to data compiled by The Warren Group, a publisher of real estate data in Boston.

Foreclosure petitions increased 75 percent in the county from January through October 2007, compared with the same period in 2006. Overall, 3,152 foreclosure petitions were filed in Essex County, compared with 1,802 for the first 10 months of 2006. Statewide, foreclosure petitions increased 63 percent, to 24,155, up from 14,847 from January to October 2006.

The statistics, based on filings in the state Land Court, are the most current. Data for November and December is not yet available, according to The Warren Group.

The increases are a sign that the nation's troubled mortgage industry, driven by defaults in the subprime lending market, is hurting the local real estate market, an analyst said.

"There is still an awful lot of potential for people to lose their homes," said Terry Egan, editor-in-chief of Banker & Tradesman and other publications by The Warren Group. "It's a pretty clear indication the problem is still at, or near, its peak."

A petition doesn't necessarily mean a home is headed for auction. Many homeowners will sell or find a way to refinance before it gets that far. But the number of petitions continues to climb in some of the region's largest cities, data shows.

Gloucester had 69 foreclosure petitions filed for the 10-month period, up from 59 in 2006. Haverhill's numbers jumped to 366, from 237, and Salem's grew from 104 to 159, the data show. Lynn, the largest city in Essex County, had the most, with 683 petitions filed, compared with 383 for the first 10 months of 2006.

But with foreclosures hitting urban areas hardest, the higher than average numbers in Essex County aren't surprising, Egan said.

"With Lynn, Lawrence, Salem, and other densely populated areas, you certainly are going to see some concentration of potential foreclosure," he said.

Danversbank stock goes fast

Danversbank debuted Thursday on the Nasdaq stock exchange, trading under the ticker symbol, DNBK. On its first day, the stock closed at $9.74 per share, 26 cents lower than the initial $10 per share stock price.

"You'd always rather close 26 cents higher than lower," said Kevin T. Bottomley, chief executive officer of the Danvers-based bank. "There may have been less institutional buying [mutual fund companies]. . . . It's only one day."

Some 1.3 million shares of the bank's stock traded hands Thursday. During its stock offering, the bank issued 17,192,500 shares of common stock, priced at $10 per share, yielding $171 million in new capital for the bank. The stock offering was so popular with depositors and other investors, it was oversubscribed. "We had to give money back to people," Bottomley said.

The $1.2 billion-asset bank, founded in 1850 as Danvers Savings Bank, now has 13 branches, including locations in Chelsea, Malden, Revere, and Saugus. On Wednesday, Bottomley and other Danversbank managers will travel to New York to sound the buzzer, officially closing Nasdaq trading for the day. The daily closing is broadcast live on CNBC, the financial cable network.

Small business scholarship offered
High school seniors whose parents are small-business owners are eligible to apply for a $500 scholarship offered by North Shore Padgett Business Services in Peabody. Applicants must have at least one parent who owns a small business with fewer than 20 employees. They must also be applying to attend an accredited college or institution of higher learning. Criteria to select the winner include grade-point average, college board scores, extracurricular activities, and educational and career plans.

The local scholarship is part of an international scholarship offered by Padgett Business Services Foundation, the charitable arm of the national franchise company. The owner of North Shore Padgett Business Services has awarded $8,000 in scholarship money over the last 17 years. Local winners are eligible to compete for regional, national, and international scholarships.

For an application, call Herb Harris at 978-977-0411 or visit The deadline is March 1.

The Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce on Saturday will present "Activating Your Entrepreneurial Spirit" from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cape Ann Marina Resort in Gloucester; $60; 978-283-1601 or

The Merrimack Valley Mayors and Town Managers Breakfast is set for 7:30 a.m. Friday at the Andover Country Club. The cost is $25 for members, $35 for nonmembers. Contact the chamber at 978-686-0900 or

Kathy McCabe can be reached at

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