Four U.S. financial giants have agreed to temporarily halt housing foreclosures.

J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley said Friday their mortgage institutions would not begin the foreclosure process on any owner-occupied properties until March 6.  Citigroup said its moratorium would last until March 12, unless President Barack Obama finalizes his administration's loan modification program at an earlier date.

A key U.S. congressman, Barney Frank, had urged the industry to hold off on foreclosures until a new process for helping homeowners could be put in place.  The Massachusetts Democrat is head of the House financial services committee.

A White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs, announced Friday that President Obama will outline a plan to tackle the home foreclosure crisis during a visit Wednesday to the western state of Arizona.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.