DOB: National Mortgage Foreclosure Settlement Providing Relief to CT Borrowers

{Newspaper} NEWS RELEASE


National Mortgage Foreclosure Settlement Providing Relief to Connecticut Borrowers

This news release was issued by the Attorney General's Office

August 29, 2012

HARTFORD -- Attorney General George Jepsen said today that an interim progress report shows Connecticut borrowers getting real relief in the first months of the $25 billion national mortgage foreclosure settlement.
 
The report was issued by Joseph A. Smith Jr., the national monitor responsible for overseeing compliance by the nation’s five largest loan servicing companies to a settlement agreement which took effect April 5. Bank of America, CitiMortgage, Inc., Ally Financial, Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase Bank and Wells Fargo agreed to the settlement with 49 states and the federal government.
 
Smith is working with a monitoring committee of federal and state officials, including Attorney General Jepsen.
 
“The monitor’s snap shot signals that the settlement is off to a good start, providing real relief to borrowers -- both in Connecticut and nationally,” Jepsen said. “Although encouraging, it is clear the process is only beginning, and that the servicers have much work ahead to fulfill their obligations under the settlement.”
 
The settlement agreement requires the companies to provide specific dollar amounts of relief to distressed borrowers within three years. The relief includes first- and second-lien modifications, refinancing, forbearance for unemployed borrowers and facilitation of short sales, in which the servicer agrees to a sale of a home for an amount less than the principal balance on the mortgage and waives the unpaid amount.
 
Short sales are an important alternative to foreclosure, especially in states like Connecticut, which allow deficiency judgments following foreclosure sales.
 
The settlement also requires the companies to implement 304 servicing standards, aimed at improving the quality of service they provide to their customers, and ensuring the integrity of the documents they file in bankruptcy and foreclosure proceedings.
 
The report shows that 1,043 Connecticut borrowers received some form of debt relief between March 1 and June 30, 2012, totaling about $65 million, or $63,000 on average. In addition, as of June 30, another $82 million of loan principal forgiveness modifications were in the pipeline for more than 800 Connecticut borrowers.
 
The Attorney General said Connecticut has been out front in working with the servicers to make sure Connecticut borrowers were positioned early to receive the benefits of the settlement. For example, he credited efforts by Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Banking Commissioner Howard Pitkin and the state Department of Banking, and his Office in sponsoring day-long mortgage servicer events in Hartford, Bridgeport and Storrs, which brought thousands of distressed homeowners and their lending companies together to explore options. The events have become models for other states.
 
These numbers reflect the debt amounts that the borrower actually saved.  The amounts for which the servicers will receive credit against their financial obligations under the settlement will be substantially lower.
 
Smith’s progress report was based on information the companies provided voluntarily about the consumer relief provided under the settlement to their customers between March 1 and June 30. The companies are required to provide additional information when they submit their first quarterly report to the states on Nov. 14, 2012.
 
The raw data, not yet verified by the consulting companies working with Smith to ensure compliance with the settlement terms, showed:
  • Nationally, 137,846 borrowers received some type of consumer relief during the period, totaling $10.6 billion, with an average benefit of $76,615 per borrower.
  • 7,093 borrowers successfully completed a first-lien modification and received $749.4 million in loan principal forgiveness.
  • Second-lien modifications and extinguishments were provided to 4,213 borrowers, representing approximately $231.4 million in total relief.
  • Servicers refinanced 22,073 home loans with a total value of unpaid principal balance of $4.9 billion.
  • 74,614 borrowers had either a short sale completed during the period or the lender agreed to accept a deed in lieu of foreclosure. The total amount of this type of relief approximated $8.7 billion.
  • An additional 60,000 borrowers were in process on June 30 to receive loan principal forgiveness worth $6.9 billion.
The servicers also reported that by July 5, they had put into effect between 35 and 72 percent of the servicing standard and four of the five had implemented more than half.
 
Assistant Attorneys General Joseph Chambers and Matthew Budzik, head of the Finance unit are assisting the Attorney General with this effort.
 
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