Hot off the press! Get your mortgage modifications here!
If you're a distressed homeowner desperately seeking relief from your mortgage, then get cozy, this article is dedicated to you.
Earlier this year, 49 states (except Oklahoma) signed on to the largest mortgage settlement since the Tobacco Settlement in 1998. The settlement provides $25 billion in relief to homeowners struggling to make mortgage payments, specifically those residing in the 49 states who signed on to the settlement. Starting in June 2012, borrowers began receiving letters alerting them to their eligibility status in the settlement:
The agreement settles state and federal investigations finding that the country's five largest mortgage servicers routinely signed foreclosure related documents outside the presence of a notary public and without really knowing whether the facts they contained were correct. Both of these practices violate the law.
The settlement provides benefits to borrowers in the signing states whose loans are owned by the settling banks as well as to many of the borrowers whose loans they service. Borrowers from Oklahoma will not be eligible for any of the relief directly to homeowners because Oklahoma elected not to join the settlement. (nationalmortgagesettlement.com)
The usual suspects
If your lender is one of the following banks, then you may want to call them if you haven't yet received a letter determining your eligibility in the program:
- Ally/GMAC: 800-766-4622
- Bank of America: 877-488-7814
- Citi: 866-272-4749
- JPMorgan Chase: 866-372-6901
- Wells Fargo: 800-288-3212
What kind of help is available?
According to nationalmortgagesettlement.com, the settlement provides assistance in the following areas:
- Immediate aid to homeowners needing loan modifications now, including first and second lien principal reduction
- Immediate aid to borrowers who are current, but whose mortgages currently exceed their home's value
- Payments to borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure with no requirement to prove financial harm and without having to release private claims against the servicers or the right to participate in the OCC review process
In our case, we received a letter from Bank of America detailing the settlement and documents required to receive an offer from their processing department. Average turn around time was quoted around 30-45 days for Bank of America. It is imperative that you send in the required documents by the stated deadline and make sure you send everything that has been requested. Call ahead to confirm receipt of the letter and review the required documents. Make copies as banks are notorious for losing paperwork in this process.
Finally, according to the processors at Bank of America, regardless of your current financial situation, you'll receive a modification if you meet the above-mentioned criteria.
Happy, sad, indifferent? What are your thoughts on this new settlement? Keep in mind that this is separate from HAMP, HARP and any other government program designed to help struggling borrowers.