stop_foreclosure_image.jpgTALLAHASSEE (AP) _ Two groups of Florida lenders will voluntarily agree not to file new foreclosure petitions on primary homes for the next 45 days.

The Florida Bankers Association and the Florida Credit Union League made the announcement Monday in a press conference with Gov. Charlie Crist. They also volunteered not to schedule foreclosure sales during that period.

Florida has the country's third-highest foreclosure rate, and the grace period is a recognition of tough economic times. It doesn't affect foreclosure proceedings that have already begun and doesn't apply to businesses or second homes.

Florida Bankers Association President Alex Sanchez encouraged anyone who is having trouble paying their mortgage to meet with their banker to try to work out a repayment plan.