In an earlier blog, we noted that in February, 2012, an historic National Mortgage Settlement (NMS) was announced with five of the largest mortgage servicers:
- Bank of America
- JPMorgan Chase
- Wells Fargo
- Ally/Gmac (Ally)
The settlement addressed charges that these five creditors had "robo-signed" foreclosure affidavits and "back-dated" foreclosure documents in order to speed up foreclosures against homeowners. Under the settlement, if your loan was serviced by one of these five "bad actors" and your home was foreclosed between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011, you may be entitled to file a claim and receive money from the settlement.
THIS WILL ALERT YOU TO NEW DEVELOPMENTS! NOW, IN SEPTEMBER 2012 AND IN OCTOBER 2012, the NMS National Administrator is mailing "Notice Letters" and Claim Forms to homeowners who may be eligible for compensation. Watch your mail, if you think you may be eligible for compensation from one of the five.
If you have filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy
Also, if you are represented by us (or by another attorney) in a Chapter 13 case, even if your home was not foreclosed, you may still benefit from the "stricter standards" required by the settlement in a Chapter 13 case if one of the five owns or services your loan. Also, whether or not you have filed a Chapter 13 case, the settlement encourages the five to reach out and solicit homeowners for loan modifications, short sales, or a reduction of the balance owed on a loan. The trade-off is that by assisting homeowners mark-down loans, the five can become eligible to receive credits against money each of the five was required to pay into the settlement. The National Administrator awards any credit based on any loss incurred from the "mark-down" of any homeowner's loan.
Recently, a spokesperson for Bank of America stated that the lender is soliciting homeowners in bankruptcy for a reduction of their loan balance. The settlement does not require that the five reach out to any homeowner in bankruptcy, BUT the settlement does provide that bankruptcy cannot be a basis for denial of assistance if the homeowner is otherwise eligible for assistance. Also, spokespersons for Chase, Wells Farge and Citi have announced that they are modifying second mortgages if the first mortgage is being modified. We have been told that these solicitations are being sent to homeowners by Fed/Ex or by priority mail.
If you are in a bankruptcy case and receive a solicitation package from one of the five, you should notify your attorney ASAP. If you receive a solicitation package and are not represented by an attorney, you may want to consult an attorney to assist you in evaluating the offer.