Foreclosure was like a foreign word to the folks in rural Maine.

Auctions, short sales and real estate-owned sales happened in overbuilt, high-growth cities such as Las Vegas and Phoenix — they seemed out of place in a small state that prides itself on "the way life should be" and subscribes to a wilderness philosophy of "slow to grow."

"Mainers don’t default (on loans)," said Jim Gulnac, planning and community development director in Sanford, a southern Maine town of 21,000 people.

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