The United States President Barack Obama-led administration recently reached a landmark $25 billion mortgage fraud settlement with several of the top lending institutions in the nation, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial.
The agreement essentially addresses three different groups:
- compensating foreclosure victims of the “robo-signing” scandal
- helping distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure
- offering “underwater” homeowners principal loan modifications
Every state with the exception of Oklahoma, which opposed the massive fine levied on the banks, will receive a share of the settlement money to disperse to its eligible constituents. The big banks, meanwhile, will be immune from further prosecution in exchange for their cooperation and combined restitution pledge.
The intended goal of the settlement is to contribute toward the improvement of the nationwide housing market in particular and the economy in general. That’s a noble initiative, one that will hopefully be realized one day soon, but we realize it won’t mean much if folks don’t know how to take advantage of the situation.
So the billion-dollar question: How do you find out if you are eligible for assistance?
First, understand that this is a program that will take individual state Attorneys General about six to nine months to set up. The settlement agreement will then be carried out over a three-year period because it is so complex. Borrowers, therefore, will not immediately know whether or not they will be eligible for relief.
Having said that, it shouldn’t stop them — or you — from exploring your options immediately and initiating the process sooner rather than later.
How do you go about that?
NationalForeclosureSettlement.com is a fantastic resource. We suggest you visit the informational website and learn as much as you can about your loan, which bank/servicer owns it and whether or not it is included in the settlement.
In the meantime, if you already know that one of the big banks mentioned above services your loan then we suggest you contact them as soon as possible. Here are their respective hotline phone numbers:
- Ally/GMAC: 800-766-4622
- Bank of America: 877-488-7814 (Available M-F from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. CT and Saturdays 8 a.m. CT – 5 p.m. CT)
- Citi: 866-272-4749
- JPMorgan Chase: 866-372-6901
- Wells Fargo: 800-288-3212 (Available M-F from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST)
Again, for complete details on the recent $25 billion national mortgage settlement agreement we suggest that you visit NationalForeclosureSettlement.com.