Rick Simon, a spokesman for Bank of America Home Loans, said that even though the bank’s first priority was to help owners keep their homes through loan modifications, short sales had soared in the last year and a half. The bank is now looking to speed up the approval process, which can take up to 90 days, he added.

One pilot program, to be rolled out nationwide in a few months, would preapprove a short-sale price at the start of the process rather than at the time an offer is made. This would knock 30 days off the wait.

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