Obama Administration New Steps for Mortgage Relief


NY Times has reported in its 5th February edition that Obama administration is close to a landmark multibillion-dollar settlement to address foreclosure abuses, as it is is close to winning support from a crucial state that would significantly expand the breadth of the deal. The biggest remaining holdout, California, has returned to the negotiating table after a four-month absence, a change of heart that could increase the pot for mortgage relief nationwide to $25 billion from $19 billion. Also, there is much progress in refinancing homes whether the home ownership is under Fannie Mae, or Freddi Mac as long as the homeowners are current on their payment. This step would be a clossal steps as this would eliminate any loan modification under HAMP. If this is fully implemented without the usual bank’s (the Big Five) laziness, and unhelpful attitude, this alone would rejuvenate our home foreclosure situation. Not only this, it would also help our employment situation as a massive refinancing would help our mortgage, real estate, reconstruction industry along with huge banking transactions. We have been emphasizing for this for long.

“Another important potential backer, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman of New York, has also signaled that he sees progress on provisions that prevented him from supporting it in the past.

The potential support from California and New York comes in exchange for tightening provisions of the settlement to preserve the right to investigate past misdeeds by banks, and stepping up oversight to ensure that the financial institutions live up to the deal and distribute the money to the hardest-hit homeowners.

The settlement would require banks to provide billions of dollars in aid to homeowners who have lost their homes to foreclosure or who are still at risk, after years of failed attempts by the White House and other government officials to alter the behavior of the biggest banks.

The banks — led by the five biggest mortgage servicers, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial — want to settle an investigation into abuses set off in 2010 by evidence that they foreclosed on borrowers with only a cursory examination of the relevant documents, a practice known as robo-signing. Four million families have lost their homes to foreclosure since the beginning of 2007.

Officials involved in the negotiations cautioned that broader state support could still be days away. And although the timing of any announcement is subject to last-minute maneuvering, as it stands now the deal would set aside up to $17 billion specifically to pay for principal reductions and other relief for up to one million borrowers who are behind on their payments but owe more than their houses are currently worth. The deal would also provide checks for about $2,000 to roughly 750,000 who lost homes to foreclosure.

Those figures are contingent upon the number who respond to the offer, which is likely to go to people who lost their homes between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2011. In addition, said Patrick Madigan, the Iowa assistant attorney general, homeowners who participate in the settlement will still have the right to sue the banks for improper behavior in the foreclosure process.

California has been focused on measures that would benefit individual homeowners, while New York h

The backers of the latest deal insist their plan has more teeth, with a powerful outside monitor to oversee enforcement and heavy monetary penalties if banks fail to live up to commitments. While the past agreement with Countrywide gave banks credit even if their offers to modify the interest rate of the mortgage or write down principal were not accepted by borrowers, this deal counts only what banks actually do for homeowners.

If banks fall short of the multibillion-dollar benchmarks set out for principal reduction and other benefits for homeowners, they will have to pay the difference plus a penalty of up to 40 percent directly to the federal government, according to Mr. Madigan.

The depressed housing market continues to pose a drag on the halting economic recovery. RealtyTrac, which analyzes housing data, predicts two million more foreclosures over the next two years. Some 11 million families owe more on their houses than they are worth.

The settlement, if all states participate, will also include $3 billion to lower the rates of mortgage holders who are current. Banks will get more credit for reducing principal owed and helping families keep their homes, and less for short sales or taking losses on loans that were likely to go bad, like those that were severely delinquent.”

At this time, everything is in doldrums, and nothing can be said with certainty if this plan would reduce the foreclosure or it would just be a plan without any impact on this unending crisis.

 
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