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A Foreclosure Snapshot from Chicago
CNBC.com | October 13, 2011 | 12:42 PM EDT

Chicago has the highest inventory of bank-owned (REO) homes of any large city in America.

It also has the most homes in the foreclosure process.

We tend to use state numbers, and that usually means Florida, California, Nevada, and Arizona make the headlines.

But when you drive around these South Side Chicago neighborhoods, like I did today, you really see one city's plight and blight.

I'm here today doing a story on Bank of America's new program to demolish some of these homes and donate them back to the city. They expect to do a mere 150 over the next two years, which is really a drop in the bucket when you go on foreclosure websites and see thousands of these properties for sale, with many more coming.

A bright side to this is that Bank of America is also "deconstructing" some of these homes. They are taking them apart and giving the still-valuable parts to a non-profit which then sells the pieces back to the community at deep discounts. It's kind of like selling an old car for parts.

"The significant thing about using a deconstruction process is 70-80 percent of the material in those homes can be re-used," says Bank of America's Rebecca Mairone. "Those all go to non-profit and those also serve an employer in the local community."

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