More than 23,000 struggling Floridians have so far received $1.7 billion in mortgage relief as part of a landmark $25 billion national settlement with five giant home lenders, the Florida Attorney General's Office announced Wednesday.
Floridians are ultimately to receive about $8 billion.
The initial relief to Floridians announced Wednesday includes principal forgiveness, loan modifications and the suspension of mortgage payments until a later date, according to an interim report.
Some homeowners also received waivers from banks so they don’t have to pay money the bank lost in a short sale of properties that sold for less than the mortgage.
Joseph Smith, Jr., the national mortgage settlement monitor, detailed the banks' settlements with homeowners in a progress report he released Wednesday. It was his first since Smith began overseeing the historic settlement reached earlier this year with JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Ally Financial.
He did not detail in his report where the first Florida homeowners receiving some sort of settlement were located.
Smith will issue an audited report to a federal court next April.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said Wednesday that the five lenders are working in the state to address the agreement.
"I am pleased to see that progress is being made under the settlement as the mortgage servicers begin to implement procedures designed to fulfill their obligations to Florida's homeowners," Bondi said in a statement. "I will continue to work with the monitor to ensure that the mortgage servicers fulfill their obligations under the settlement agreement."
However, many Floridians are not pleased with how the lenders are so far handling the settlement. Florida was second only to California in the number of consumer complaints filed to Smith’s monitoring office.
So far, the five banks have granted $10.56 billion in consumer relief to borrowers throughout the nation from March to June, Smith reported in his initial accounting.
"Additionally, first lien principal reduction trials were offered and begun for about 28,000 homeowners, totaling approximately $3 billion of potential relief," Smith said.
The five banks voluntarily reported on their progress, he added.
"It has not been confirmed by the professional firms working with me. Further, it represents gross dollar amounts," Smith said.
There will be an audit later and included in a final report.
The Florida relief provided so far covers first and second mortgages.
In February, Attorney General Bondi entered into the $25 billion joint federal-state agreement with the five banks to resolve allegations of the so-called "robo-signing," other foreclosure abuses and tainted mortgage servicing practices.
In addition to the terms of the national settlement agreement, Bondi also negotiated another agreement with Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of America to ensure that a guaranteed portion of the overall settlement funds goes to Florida borrowers.
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