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Massachusetts is expected to receive more than $300 million for homeowners as part of a $25 billion state-federal settlement with the nation’s biggest mortgage lenders over controversial foreclosure practices.
The landmark deal, agreed to Thursday by federal officials, 49 state attorneys general and five major banks — Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial — will reduce loans for nearly 1 million U.S. households and will force the banks to send checks of up to $2,000 to 750,000 Americans who were improperly foreclosed upon.
Massachusetts' estimated share of the settlement is $318 million, including: about $14 million in cash to Massachusetts borrowers; $257 million in mortgage relief, such as term modifications and refinancing; and about $46 million to the state for assisting homeowners.
In a statement, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley says she "also secured an additional 'carve out' to the agreement to allow her office to continue to pursue further relief in the courts against the banks over two Massachusetts-specific issues." The issues refer to claims that banks illegally foreclosed on properties without holding the deed and that the electronic registration system concealed the identities of mortgage-holders.
The two issues were part of a lawsuit she filed in December.
"In Massachusetts, this agreement provides for immediate relief and continued enforcement," Coakley said in the statement. But, she said, "by no means is this settlement the end of our work seeking accountability and relief."
NPR reports that the settlement covers the five banks "against any suits regarding that robo-signing issue, where mortgage companies signed false affidavits in order to speed up the foreclosure process."
"We have reached a landmark settlement with the nation's largest banks," President Obama said following the deal's announcement, which will "begin to turn the page on an era of recklessness."
Coakley's office says: "Borrowers should contact their mortgage servicer to obtain more information about specific loan modification programs and whether they qualify under terms of the settlement."
With additional reporting by NPR, the AP and State House News Service
- The National Mortgage Settlement website
- Mass. AG's dedicated mortgage settlement phone line - 617-963-2170
This program aired on February 9, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.
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