Under the recently announced State Attorneys General Mortgage Servicing Settlement, Marylanders behind on mortgage payments once again have a tool to stay in their homes or receive restitution if they have already been foreclosed upon. On Feb. 9, Maryland joined with the federal government and 48 other states to announce the $25 billion settlement with five of the largest mortgage servicers in the nation.
For families there are three basic types of relief:
• Approximately $24 million in payments to Maryland borrowers who lost their homes in connection with mortgage servicing abuse;
• Approximately $808 million in benefits to Maryland borrowers through a series of national homeowner relief effort options, including principal reductions through loan modifications;
• Approximately $64 million in a mortgage refinancing program for Maryland borrowers who are current, but owe more than their home is worth.
There are two programs the banks will implement to help consumers whose mortgages are or were serviced by Ally Bank (formerly GMAC), Bank of America, Citi Bank, JP Morgan Chase, or Wells Fargo including: a refinance program for underwater borrowers whose loans are owned by the banks; and, principal reduction and other potential relief for loans serviced by the banks that are not owned by FannieMae and FreddieMac.
The specific criteria will be developed by the individual servicers in the next few months. However, the Consent Order requires that assistance must be offered to homeowners whose mortgages are: servicer owned first mortgage loans; current with no delinquencies in the past 12 months; fixed rate loans, adjustable rate mortgages, or interest only mortgages that have an initial period of five years or more; loan-to-value greater than 100 percent; originated prior to Jan.1, 2009; not modified in the past 24 months; have a current interest rate of at least 5.25 percent or higher; not an FHA or VA loan; not on a manufactured home.
Additionally, a borrower cannot have been in bankruptcy, or been involved in a foreclosure within the last 24 months.
If you or your family made payments to Ally Bank (formerly GMAC), Bank of America, Citi Bank, JP Morgan Chase, or Wells Fargo, you may be eligible for assistance.
If you have lost your home to foreclosure sometime since the beginning of 2008; are currently behind in your mortgage payments; or know or suspect that your home is worth less money now than the amount of your mortgage loan, you may be eligible for help.
For further information please contact a local Housing Counseling Agency. There are many serving the Harford, eastern Baltimore and Cecil County areas. Or you may call Home Partnership, Inc. at 410-679-3200.
Frank R. Hodgetts, President
Home Partnership, Inc.
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