2012 A p r i l - #3-3
Big Banks Held Accountable
Relief & Restitution To Homeowners
On February 9, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced that Colo-
mortgage servicing and foreclosure fraud and abuses and provides relief to
rado joined a $25 billion multistate settlement with the five largest national
homeowners. With the backing of a federal court order and the oversight of an
banks, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi and Ally, who
independent monitor, the settlement stops future fraud and abuse.
account for 60 percent of the home loan servicing market, to end problematic
Customers of the five settling banks who lost their homes to foreclosure be-
business practices and to help distressed homeowners.
tween January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011may be eligible for restitution
The settlement will deliver $204.6 million worth of relief for Colorado hom-
under the settlement. The independent, third-party administrator of the settle-
eowners. Under the terms of the settlement, Colorado, which served on the
ment hopes to contact affected victims by the end of the summer. Customers
executive committee that oversaw the settlement negotiations, will receive:
of the five settling banks who are still in their homes but either behind on their
-$73.3 million that will be available to grant principal reductions on loans to
payments or underwater should contact the banks directly through dedicated
make a modification possible. Approximately 40 percent of these funds will
toll-free contact numbers to determine if they are eligible for assistance:
also be available to ease the effects of foreclosure, including waiving deficien-
Bank of America - 1.877.488.7814
cy balances, enhanced cash-for-keys payments and blight prevention;
Chase - 1.866.372.6901
-$52.5 million in cash to the state;
Citi - 1.866.272.4749
-$46.3 million worth of refinancing benefits to underwater borrowers; and,
GMAC/Ally - 1.800.766.4622
-$32.49 million in payments to homeowners who lost their homes to foreclo-
Wells Fargo - 1.800.288.3212
sure between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011.
The Office of the Attorney General will work with the Governor's Office and the
Nationally, the banks have agreed to:
General Assembly to ensure that the $52.5 million Colorado directly receives
-Commit a minimum of $17 billion directly to borrowers through a series of
under the settlement will be used for purposes including foreclosure preven-
national homeowner relief options, including principal reduction. Given how
tion, housing-counseling services, additional legal services for distressed hom-
the settlement is structured, servicers will actually provide up to an estimated
eowners, promotion of loan-modification opportunities and anti-blight efforts.
$32 billion in direct homeowner relief.
The settlement changes the way the banks do business. Under the agreement,
-Commit $3 billion to a mortgage refinancing program for borrowers who are
the banks will be required to stop the use of robo-signing, end the process of
current, but owe more than their home is currently worth.
dual tracking of loans, provide a single point of contact for consumers as they
-Pay $5 billion to the states and federal government ($4.25 billion to the states
move through the loan-modification processes, create an online portal for
and $750 million to the federal government).
consumers to get information about where they are in the loan-modification
-Provide homeowners with comprehensive new protections through new
process, and abide by a strict set of deadlines for dealing with loan modifica-
mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure standards.
tions. The settlement also requires that the banks post payments they receive to
-Be overseen by an independent monitor will ensure mortgage servicer
homeowners' accounts within two business days of receiving them.
The foreclosure practices of the banks will be subject to strict oversight by an in-
"This agreement delivers real help to homeowners affected by the banks' dual
dependent monitor who will provide regular reports to the participating states.
tracking and other improper mortgage- and foreclosure-related processes,"
The banks will be subject to stiff fines if they violate the terms of the agreement.
Suthers said. "As a result of this settlement, the banks will end a series of
The settlement does not grant any immunity from criminal offenses and will
problematic processes that put homeowners at a severe disadvantage during
not affect criminal prosecutions. The agreement does not prevent homeowners
the foreclosure process. This settlement will not solve every problem with the
or investors from pursuing individual, institutional or class action civil cases
housing market, but it goes a long way to helping homeowners in distress
against the five servicers. The pact also enables state attorneys general and
now and leveling the playing field for consumers."
federal agencies to investigate and pursue other aspects of the mortgage crisis,
The settlement is the second largest multistate consumer protection enforce-
including securities cases.
ment settlement after the 1998 tobacco litigation settlement. This agreement is
Following up on the promise of how to allocate Colorado's cash payment,
the result of a massive civil law enforcement investigation and initiative that
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers and Governor John Hickenlooper an-
includes state attorneys general and state banking regulators across the coun-
nounced on March 16 that Colorado will use the $51.17 million it has received
try and nearly a dozen federal agencies. It holds banks accountable for past
under the recent multistate settlement to
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