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Total loan-related relief projected to top $175 million in Wisconsin.
MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that Wisconsin borrowers received $23.5 million in mortgage loan-related relief in the first quarter of 2013 under the National Mortgage Settlement. Adding to previously announced totals, 3,516 Wisconsin borrowers have now claimed $167,183,021 in loan-related relief. In addition, 106 Wisconsin borrowers are in trial mortgage modifications, which will add $8 million to the State’s relief in coming months – raising the projected total to more than $175 million statewide so far.
More than $50.6 billion in relief has gone to borrowers nationally. A fact sheet summarizing national consumer relief can be downloaded here. Loan-related relief includes refinancing, principal reduction, mortgage modification offers, second-lien forgiveness, short sales and enhanced transition assistance, among other options to homeowners.
“Our consumer protection unit has worked directly with hundreds of borrowers affected by the National Mortgage Settlement. This report shows that thousands of borrowers in Wisconsin are receiving assistance, with each one representing a family and a neighborhood that has benefited,” Attorney General Van Hollen remarked. “But, the work is not finished. Loan-related relief is a significant part of this settlement and so is ensuring the banks’ compliance with the new servicing standards, designed to eliminate the problems addressed by the settlement.”
The National Mortgage Settlement resulted from a joint multi-state and federal action against the five largest mortgage servicers in the nation: Bank of America, CitiGroup, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Ally (GMAC). Under the agreement, the servicers must submit quarterly reports to an independent Monitor. The information released this week was self-reported by the servicers and has not yet been audited or credited by the Monitor.
The Monitor also oversees the banks’ compliance with the servicing standards mandated by the settlement. The servicing standards require the settling banks to comply with comprehensive rules that govern how the banks handle mortgage loans and foreclosure actions. These standards require better communication with borrowers, a single point of contact with the bank, adequate staffing levels and training, and appropriate standards for executing documents in foreclosure cases. In the coming month, the Monitor will issue his first reports concerning banks' compliance with the settlement's servicing standards. "Based on my conversations with consumer professionals, elected officials and distressed borrowers, I know there are areas in which the banks still have work to do, and I am using that insight to determine if there are gaps that require further testing," settlement monitor Joseph Smith said in a statement.
The Monitor will measure compliance with the servicing standards by several means, including the monitoring of the documentation of foreclosures, loss mitigation offers, proper evaluation of loan modification applications, accuracy of borrower account information, and assessment and reasonableness of any fees. A servicer that fails to remedy a violation is subject to civil penalties of up to $5 million. To report a violation of the servicing standards, visit www.mortgageoversight.com or contact the Wisconsin Department of Justice at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-266-1852.
In addition, the settlement separately earmarked approximately $1.5 billion for payments to two million borrowers nationwide who lost their homes to foreclosure from 2008-2011. In Wisconsin, beginning next month, approximately $17.2 million will be available for cash payments to more than 22,000 Wisconsin borrowers who have lost their homes to foreclosure. For more information about restitution payments for those who have lost their homes to foreclosure, call 1-866-430-8358. Additional information about the settlement is available at: http://www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com.