"Robo-signing" and Deceptive Foreclosure Practices
In the wake of the housing crisis, large financial institutions faced a growing backlog of foreclosed properties. State Attorneys General across the country accused five banks of using deceptive foreclosure practices, including "robo-signing," to speed up the process. We talk with Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler about a new multi-state, multi-billion dollar settlement.
Resources: Contact Info For Troubled Homeowners in Virginia, Maryland, And D.C.:
More information on the proposed agreement is available at the National Mortgage Settlement site
For eligibility questions:
Borrowers should contact their mortgage servicer to obtain more information about specific loan modification programs and whether they qualify under terms of this settlement. The toll free numbers for the settling servicers are:
Bank of America: (877) 488-7814
Citigroup: (866) 272-4749
J.P. Morgan Chase: (866) 372-6901
GMAC: (800) 766-4622
Wells Fargo: (800) 288-3212
For those who have had multiple changes of address:
For Virginians who went through a foreclosure during the period from January 1, 2008, through December 31, 2011, and whose loans were serviced immediately prior to foreclosure by one of the settling servicers, but who are worried that the settlement administrator will not be able to locate them due to multiple changes in address in the intervening period, please visit ag.virginia.gov and click on "Foreclosure Victim Address Update Form" under "Hot Topics." The attorney general's office will collect your information and forward it to the settlement administrator.
Info for Marylanders interested in learning more details:
If homeowners choose to call the banks directly, Attorney General Gansler is urging all distressed homeowners to seek the assistance of a housing counselor by calling the Maryland HOPE hotline at 1-877-462-7555 or visiting their website at www.mdhope.org.
Maryland Office of the Attorney General: 410-576-6300 or 1-888-743-0023 toll free
Attorney General Gansler also warned homeowners to beware of people promising to assist them with guaranteed results of a loan modification for a fee. It is likely a scam. For a list of trained and certified non-profit housing counselors working with Maryland's DHCD go to www.mdhope.org
For more info, visit the Maryland Attorney General's website.
Office of Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan Contact Info
Phone: (202) 727-3400
Direct Numbers for Loan Servicers:
Bank of America 1-877-488-7814
Wells Fargo 1-800-288-3212
Gansler talks about the landmark deal that involves five major banks giving an estimated $25 billion to more than 40 states to help homeowners who may have been unjustly foreclosed upon or who are currently struggling with a loan or facing foreclosure. Maryland is set to receive $960 million; Virginia, $480 million; and D.C.; $45 million from the deal. The deal required the participating states to waive the right to pursue claims regarding the origin of loans, but states did retain the right to pursue banks over issues of securitization - the packaging and selling of bundles of loans, many of which were linked to sub-prime mortgages:
Kojo asked Gansler for his response to those who thought the banks got off too easy in the industry-government deal requiring five large banks to pay nearly $25 billion to states to help previously foreclosed upon and currently troubled homeowners. Gansler said many state officials showed resolve in holding out for the best deal they could get for citizens:
Background On The "Robo-signing" Scandal
60 Minutes exposes bank fraud related to mortgage lending and explains the "robo-signing" scandal. These are the conditions that led to the current settlement, which some critics say does not punish fraudulent banks severely enough. This story originally aired in April, 2011: