State Attorneys General Mortgage Servicing Settlement
On Thursday, February 9th, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler entered into a settlement with the nation's five largest mortgage servicers, bringing nearly $1 billion in monetary benefits and relief to distressed Maryland homeowners. The accord follows an extensive investigation into foreclosure abuses, fraud, and unacceptable mortgage servicing practices such as "robo-signing."
The settlement will help thousands of Marylanders stay in their homes through enhanced loan modifications and other services. It also requires comprehensive reform of mortgage loan servicing standards, changing the way these banks will deal with customers in the future.
This landmark agreement - the largest of its kind in Maryland history - is between the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation's Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation, the Federal government, and the nation's five largest mortgage servicers, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citi, JP Morgan Chase, and Ally Bank/GMAC. 50 states entered into the agreement.
The settlement money will be used for:
Individual payments to borrowers who were victims of these banks' unfair servicing practices and were foreclosed upon between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011;
Loss mitigation programs, such as loan modifications (including principal reductions), forbearance plans, and short sales for homeowners with loans serviced by the five big banks who are behind on or very likely to soon fall behind on their mortgage payments due to financial circumstances;
Refinancing for homeowners with loans owned and serviced by the five big banks who are current in their payments but who owe more than their homes are worth; and
Housing counseling and other state-level foreclosure prevention and housing programs.
The settlement includes mechanisms to ensure the banks comply. A federal judge and an independent monitor will oversee the banks' compliance, and federal agencies, state attorneys general, and bank regulators can enforce compliance if there are violations the banks do not fix promptly. The settlement also builds in incentives designed to ensure prompt compliance, including a large monetary penalty if the banks do not meet targets for distributing the benefits required by the settlement on time.
The settlement does not release the banks from criminal liability. It does not prevent individuals from bringing their own claims. And it will not stop our office from pursuing the banks over misconduct in the securitization of mortgages, fair lending violations, or other fraud. People should expect to see further action.
More than 16,600 Marylanders benefit in first 13 months; another $60 million in ongoing trial modifications for 500 Maryland families may boost total assistance
Baltimore, MD (May. 21, 2013) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that 16,627 Maryland families have received more than $1.3 billion in relief from the National Mortgage Settlement during the period of March 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013. This represents approximately $400 million more in relief and assistance for distressed homeowners than was originally estimated. This latest report does not include the one-time, no-strings-attached cash payments to eligible borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure. Eligible Marylanders should begin receiving checks next month; they are expected to exceed the $840 minimum, although an exact amount is not yet known. More...
Baltimore, MD (September 18, 2012) - Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler is advising families who may be eligible for cash payments under Maryland's nearly $1 billion Mortgage Servicing Settlement to check the mail in the coming weeks for important information that will enable borrowers to receive assistance. Postcards will be arriving this week, and letters and claim forms will be sent within a month, to families who lost their homes to foreclosure between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011 and whose loans were serviced by Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Eligible families are expected to receive a cash payment of at least $840 without waiving any of their future legal rights and remedies.More... UPDATE: Payments to eligible borrowers whose homes have already been foreclosed are scheduled to be sent during the first week of June (subject to change).
8-10-2012: For mortgages owned by Bank of America, a rate reduction modification program (an option permitted under the settlement in lieu of a refinance) will be available for eligible customers who are current on their mortgage payments and owe more than the current value of their homes. Through this rate reduction program, eligible customers will receive a lower interest rate to achieve benefits similar to those they might get with a refinance. Bank of America will begin to notify eligible customers via FedEx beginning in mid-August and expect to complete notifications by the end of 2012. Attempts will be made by phone to initiate contact with eligible customers who do not respond to the written notification.
6-29-2012: Bank of America has begun to send notices to homeowners who may be eligible for a principal reduction of their mortgages. The bank expects these letters to be mailed on a rolling basis by September. The Attorney General urges homeowners to OPEN THEIR MAIL from the bank.
In April, JP Morgan Chase and Ally Bank (GMAC) began sending letters to consumers eligible to refinance their mortgages under the Attorney Generals' Mortgage Servicing Settlement and expects all letters to be sent by July. Borrowers should open these letters and any other correspondence from your mortgage servicer as they may contain information regarding your eligibility for relief under the Mortgage Servicing Settlement.