Roundtable participants exchange strategies to help distressed homeownersSettlement secured nearly $1 billion in benefits and assistance forMaryland homeowners affected by the housing crisis
Largo, MD – March 27, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler joined U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today for an informal roundtable discussion of the $25 billion National Mortgage Servicing Settlement with several community-based housing advocates and state and local government officials. The discussion, held at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, centered on the needs of distressed Maryland homeowners and the most effective ways to assist those affected by the housing crisis, regardless of whether their mortgages were serviced by the five banks who are parties to the settlement.
“We have thousands of Maryland families who need this assistance right now, so we’re working closely with community groups and government officials to make this happen as fast as possible,” said Attorney General Gansler. “I want to thank Secretary Donovan, not only for taking a personal interest in the plight of Maryland families, but also for his role in helping secure nearly $1 billion for Marylanders who have lost or are in danger of losing their homes.”
“This historic settlement will provide much-needed relief for Maryland homeowners,” said Shaun Donovan, HUD Secretary. “I was delighted to meet with Attorney General Gansler and other housing advocates and stakeholders today to discuss how we can make sure the settlement delivers real help for thousands of Maryland families.”
The $25 billion National Mortgage Servicing Settlement has been filed with the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., and is awaiting final approval by the presiding judge who will then appoint a monitor to ensure the five participating mortgage servicers live up to the terms of the agreement. Federal agencies, state attorneys general and bank regulators can enforce compliance if there are violations the banks do not promptly fix.
The vast majority of the benefits and assistance will help eligible homeowners in the following ways:
- 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 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 (including interest and principal reductions), forbearance plans, and short sales;
- 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.
In addition to the mortgage and financial benefits intended for distressed homeowners, the agreement spells out 42 pages worth of vastly improved mortgage servicing standards and practices that each of the five participants will be required to implement in order to better assist current and future borrowers with this settlement and all other mortgage servicing issues.
Under the settlement, participating mortgage servicers are required to contact borrowers directly regarding loan modification options in some cases. 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 interested in learning more details can contact their housing counselor or call 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:
Bank of America (And Countrywide): 1-877-488-7814
JPMorgan Chase (And WaMu): 1-866-372-6901
Wells Fargo (And Wachovia): 1-800-288-3212
For more information on the agreement visit Attorney General Gansler’s website:
Additional information is available at:
David Paulson, 410-576-6357
dpaulson (at) oag.state.md (dot) us