Deadline for homeowners in foreclosure settlement nears
By Christin Nance Lazerus firstname.lastname@example.org December 25, 2012 3:24PM
Updated: December 25, 2012 7:32PM
Nearly 2,000 citizens across Indiana have benefitted so far from the National Mortgage Settlement — to the tune of $71.3 million — and Hoosier homeowners are eligible for additional aid.
But the deadline to file is approaching fast.
Abby Kuzma, Director of Consumer Protection at the Indiana Attorney General’s office, said this portion of the settlement focuses on homeowners who were foreclosed upon and experienced a servicer error between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2011. The settlement covers mortgages serviced by Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. If buyers qualify, they can receive at least $860.
Kuzma said that eligible homeowners should receive a claim form in the mail by the end of this month, but they also can fill out a claim form until Jan. 18 at www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com or contact Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight at (866) 430-8358.
The form is free to submit. Kuzma cautioned buyers to be on the lookout of scam artists who may offer a settlement payment if buyers put money down. Servicer errors are a serious matter, but Kuzma cautioned that they typically don’t rise to the level of a buyer getting a home back.
“Errors are absolutely not OK, but in most instances, they’re the kind — robosigning for example or improperly submitted documents — where it doesn’t mean the information is not there. They just did not properly go through the procedures that are required by law.”
Kuzma said the settlement has resulted in considerable mortgage relief for buyers. About $13.87 million in refinancing was given to 450 current Indiana borrowers, and 1,461 borrowers were extended about $57.4 million for loss mitigation relief which could have included help through short sales, loan modifications, deeds in lieu of foreclosure or principal reductions.
But the office still receives complaints about mortgage servicers — 312 so far this year — and they encourage anyone having difficulties to visit indianaconsumer.com.
“We absolutely want to know if not doing what’s required as part of the $20 billion obligation,” she said.
The Indiana General Assembly has passed certain buyer protections, such as requiring settlement conferences with the bank.
Indiana Attorney General’s Office spokeswoman Erin Reece said a handful of Northwest Indiana consumers have been assisted by the settlement, but none were interested in speaking about their experiences.
“(The) report helps outline the steps the banks have taken to implement the terms of the settlement and gives insight into the amount of relief Hoosier consumers are receiving,” Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a statement. “I look forward to reading the Office of Mortgage Settlement’s review of the banks’ reported consumer relief activities.”