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CFO Sink Attends Emergency Meeting in Ocala, Commits Help for 1,000 New Floridians out of Work


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 14, 2009                               
CONTACT: Kyra Jennings or Kevin Cate, (850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE – Florida CFO Alex Sink attended an emergency meeting yesterday with the Ocala Economic Development Council, Congressman Cliff Stearns, Ocala Mayor Randy Ewers, and other local elected officials and business leaders to discuss the economic impact of losing more than 1,000 high-paying jobs after the closure of lending operations by Ocala-based Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp., the 12th largest mortgage lender in the nation.
During the meeting, CFO Sink committed her Department of Financial Services (DFS) to assisting the Council and community with addressing the needs of Ocala residents.  This included dedicating resources from her Consumer Services Division to assist with financial and insurance questions and assigning volunteer lawyers from the Florida Attorneys Saving Homes program to help area homeowners avoid foreclosure.  CFO Sink also will be in contact with “stimulus czar” Don Winstead to evaluate if any stimulus funds could be expedited to projects in the Ocala area. 
“Although we have not yet faced a hurricane this season, Floridians like these 1,000 residents in Ocala are facing a Category 5 economic hurricane and the effects are just as devastating and even longer lasting.  Losing 1,000 high-paying jobs in Ocala is a devastating blow to a region that is already facing record-high unemployment,” said CFO Sink.  “Ocala’s economic recovery is vital to rebuilding our state’s economic foundation and I have pledged to do everything I can to bring attention and help to the region.”
In June, the Agency for Workforce Innovation reported 17,499, or 12.6% of Marion County residents are unemployed. Those numbers are expected to approach 14% by October, following the layoffs.
Initiatives by CFO Sink’s Department will compliment efforts by the Ocala Economic Development Council to keep more high-paying jobs in the Ocala area, help stem foreclosures, and provide information to citizens about reducing their household costs.  CFO Sink, who chaired the Healthy Kids Board during her first 20 months in office, will also work to ensure that residents have opportunities to enroll their children in Florida KidCare at upcoming job and resource fairs.
Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp., the nation’s 12th-largest mortgage lender, closed its lending operations after being stripped of its license to issue any new mortgage loans in the state by Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) and being barred from originating new FHA-insured mortgages by the Federal Housing Administration.