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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
David Paulson, 410-576-6357
dpaulson@oag.state.md.us

Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Governor Martin O'Malley Outline
Funding for Homeowners and Communities Affected by Housing Crisis
$60 million from Mortgage Settlement Funds will boost housing counselor and legal aid programs,
community stabilization, enforcement and fraud prevention


Baltimore, MD (May 30, 2012) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Governor Martin O'Malley today outlined details of how the Attorney General will allocate nearly $60 million in funding that is part of the nearly $1 billion in housing relief, assistance and benefits Maryland secured from the recent $26 billion National Mortgage Servicing Settlement. While 10 percent will go directly to the Maryland General Fund, almost $54 million will provide more housing counselors and legal aid services to assist homeowners, help stabilize communities most affected by the crisis and expand housing-related enforcement and fraud prevention.

"Our priorities are to help those families struggling to stay in their homes and stabilize neighborhoods so those homes can begin to increase in value once again," said Attorney General Gansler. "This plan sticks to the spirit and the letter of the settlement by using these resources to help the Marylanders most affected by the housing crisis. As a result, all Marylanders will benefit."

"Maryland has led the nation in its swift response to the foreclosure crisis," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "Since 2007, with the help of partner agencies like DHCD and DLLR, we have worked to preserve homeownership through legislation, supporting resources for homeowners and with extensive outreach. We are moving forward, but we haven't reached the finish line yet. As a result of the work of Attorney General Gansler, these settlement funds will allow us to build upon the work we are already doing and provide more resources to homeowners struggling to keep their home."

The spending plan was based on recommendations submitted by the Mortgage Settlement Funds Workgroup appointed by Attorney General Gansler shortly after the historic Mortgage Servicing Settlement was announced in February. The funds will be allocated as follows (estimated):

$8.6 million Nonprofit Housing Counselors (Not-for-profit Agencies - RFP)
$6.2 million Nonprofit Legal Aid and Assistance (Not-for-profit Agencies – RFP)
$14 million Statewide Neighborhood Stabilization (RFP)
$10 million Baltimore City - Housing Programs
$10 million Prince George's County - Housing Programs
$2.1 million Financial Fraud Prevention – Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR)
$2.7 million Housing-Related Civil and Criminal Enforcement – Office of the Attorney General (OAG)
$5.97 million General Fund (10% - Civil Penalty)
$59.7 Million Total

The Mortgage Settlement Funds Workgroup was composed of representatives from the Governor's Office, the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, DLLR, the Prince George's County and Baltimore City housing and community development agencies, the Abell Foundation and the Office of the Attorney General. The workgroup sought input from multiple state and local governments as well as several nonprofit and advocacy organizations. Some of the funds will be distributed after a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process and others require a detailed spending plan to be submitted to the Attorney General by all recipients before funds are disbursed.

Attorney General Gansler thanked the members of the workgroup for the speed and depth of their assistance in determining how to allocate the funds in ways that efficiently and effectively help homeowners - and the communities where they live - consistent with the terms of the settlement.

The Mortgage Servicing Settlement is the result of an extensive investigation into foreclosure abuses, fraud and unacceptable mortgage servicing practices such as "robo-signing." Attorney General Gansler, joined by the federal government and 48 other Attorneys General, secured the largest settlement of its kind from the nation's five largest mortgage servicers.

Under the settlement, participating mortgage servicers are required to contact borrowers directly regarding cash payments, refinancing or other loan modifications. However, borrowers should not wait to hear from the banks. They should, with the assistance of a nonprofit housing counselor, contact their mortgage servicer to obtain more information about specific loan modification programs and whether they qualify under the terms of this settlement.

Marylanders seeking to contact a housing counselor can call the Maryland HOPE Hotline at 1-877-462-7555 or the Maryland Office of the Attorney General: 410-576-6300 or 1-888-743-0023 (toll free).

Marylanders who make, or previously made, mortgage payments to one of the five mortgage servicers may call special toll-free hotlines established for the purpose of handling claims under this agreement:

Ally/GMAC: 1-800-766-4622
Bank of America (And Countrywide): 1-877-488-7814
Citi: 1-866-272-4749
JPMorgan Chase (And WaMu): 1-866-372-6901
Wells Fargo (And Wachovia): 1-800-288-3212

For more information on the settlement and a schedule of community-based workshops for homeowners visit Attorney General Gansler's website:
http://www.oag.state.md.us/mortgageSettlement/index.html

Here is the Mortgage Settlement Funds Workgroup Report on Allocation of Settlement Funds for Housing Counselors, Legal Services and other Housing Initiatives.

   

Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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