If you are underwater on your home or were foreclosed upon between 2008 and 2011 there could be some relief coming your way according to an article from CNNMoney today. Federal and state officials have agreed to a $26 billion settlement of potential state charges of home seizures made without required paperwork and improper foreclosure practices based on robosigning by the five largest lenders in the country – Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Ally Financial.
About $17 billion will be used to reduce the principal for underwater homeowners and could mean a reduction for as many as 1 million people. While this is a start, the average reduction would be about $17,000, so might not go a long way in assisting those upside down on their mortgages. In addition, about 750,000 homeowners who are current on their mortgages will be able to refinance their loans to take advantage of the current record-low interest rates. About $1.5 billion will also go to homeowners foreclosed upon between 2008 and 2011 and who meet other criteria. They will be eligible to receive $2,000 for charges of robosigning.
Negotiations are underway to expand the current settlement to nine other servicers, potentially expanding the settlement to $30 billion.
It is important to note that even though a homeowner may accept settlement from the bank, it does not inhibit their ability to file criminal prosecution charges against the bank.