The National Mortgage Settlement of 2012 required that certain banks—Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo—provide extensive relief to borrowers in the form of loan modifications, refinancing, and even cash payouts.
As a result of these investigations, in February 2012, 49 state attorneys general and the federal government reached a historic settlement with five of the nation’s largest banks. The settlement held them accountable for the servicing violations that contributed to the mortgage crisis in this county.
The National Mortgage Settlement provided up to $25 billion in relief to current and former homeowners.
The settlement benefits were for those borrowers whose loans are owned or serviced by the following five major loan servicers:
To find out who your servicer is, look at your mortgage payment coupon. The company that you make your monthly payment to is your servicer (which might be different than the owner of your loan).
Settlement applied to owner-occupied homes. The settlement applied if the loan was for an owner-occupied property that was the primary residence of the borrower.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans were not a part of the settlement. Loans serviced by one of the servicers above, but owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, were not eligible for benefits under the settlement.
Borrowers in Oklahoma were not covered. Borrowers from Oklahoma were not entitled to any of the relief provided for in the settlement because that state elected not to join the settlement. Oklahoma made its own agreement with the five servicers.
As of March 2014, all five settling banks had satisfied their consumer relief and financing obligations under the settlement. Here are some of the remedies that were provided.
The settlement provided assistance for struggling homeowners in need of a loan modification, including first and second lien principal reductions. (Lower principal balances result in lower payments, thus allowing homeowners a chance to retain their property.)
Homeowners who were current on payments, but whose property value was underwater, were granted refinancing relief.
Homeowners who lost their homes because they were not properly offered loss mitigation options or were otherwise improperly foreclosed on between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011 were eligible for cash payouts from a $1.5 billion fund.
Amount of the payout. Borrowers who submitted a valid payment claim form through the National Mortgage Settlement received a check for approximately $1,480. Checks first went out between June 10, 2013, and June 17, 2013. The initial deadline to make a claim was January 18, 2013, and the final deadline to submit a claim has now passed.
The states that were part of the settlement received $2.5 billion to help distressed homeowners who were wronged by the banks. However, much of the money that was allocated to the states for this purpose has been redirected. Approximately 44% has been redirected to rainy day funds, budget balancing efforts, and economic development funds rather than on homeowners.
The settlement required, among other things, that the banks:
The servicing standards under the settlement were in effect until the later part of 2015, though they are now largely duplicated by federal law.
To learn more about the National Mortgage Settlement, go to www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com.