HARRISBURG - Attorney General Linda Kelly today announced that official notifications are being sent to approximately 29,000 Pennsylvania borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011 and who may be eligible for payment as part of the $25 billion national mortgage foreclosure settlement.
Eligible borrowers had mortgages serviced by Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, the nation's five largest mortgage servicers that agreed to the settlement with the federal government and attorneys general for 49 states and the District of Columbia.
The settlement, which took effect in April, set aside approximately $1.5 billion in payments for two million borrowers nationwide who lost their homes to foreclosure during that period and had their loan serviced by one of the settling servicers. The exact payment will depend upon the total number of borrowers who decide to participate.
Kelly said the national settlement administrator has mailed notification postcards to eligible borrowers nationwide. The postcards explain that consumers may be eligible for a portion of the foreclosure settlement and advises them to carefully review all of the information in the claim packets, which are being mailed this week.
In Pennsylvania, the packets contain an official notification letter from Attorney General Kelly along with a claim form, instructions and answers to frequently asked questions. Those packets are being mailed to 28,448 eligible borrowers beginning today and continuing through October 12th.
Kelly urged eligible Pennsylvania borrowers to watch their mail for the official packets and to complete their claim forms and return them as soon as possible in the envelope provided. Claim forms can also be filed online at www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com.
The deadline for filing all claims is January 18, 2013. Payment checks are expected to be mailed in mid-2013.
Free claim form assistance availableBorrowers who have questions or need help filing their claims can contact the settlement administrator, toll-free, at 1-866-430-8358. The information line is staffed Monday through Friday from (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern). Questions can also be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Payment will not stop other legal claimsKelly noted that eligible borrowers do not need to prove financial harm to receive a payment, nor do they give up their rights to pursue a lawsuit against their mortgage servicer or to participate in the Independent Foreclosure Review Process being conducted by federal bank regulators. More information about that program is available at: www.independentforeclosurereview.com.
Eligible borrowers may get a payment from this settlement even if they participate in another foreclosure claims process. However, any payment received may reduce payments borrowers may be eligible to receive in any other foreclosure claim process or legal proceeding.
Eligible borrowers not notified should contact settlement administratorBorrowers who believe they may qualify for a payment, but did not receive a notice because they have moved should contact the settlement administrator directly to provide that information:
· Call toll-free: 1-866-430-8358. The line is staffed Monday through Friday from (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern).
Beware of scamsBorrowers should not need to pay anyone to file their claim.
Kelly cautioned all homeowners to be aware of settlement-related scams. Do not provide personal information or pay money to anyone who calls or emails you claiming that they are providing settlement-related assistance.
If you believe someone is conducting a settlement-related scam, contact the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555.
Settlement backgroundThe national settlement followed state and federal investigations, which alleged that the five mortgage servicers routinely signed foreclosure-related documents outside the presence of a notary public and without personal knowledge that the facts contained in the documents were correct. This civil law enforcement action also alleged that the servicers committed widespread errors and abuses in their foreclosure processes.
Broad reform of the mortgage servicing process resulted from the settlement, as well as financial relief for borrowers still in their homes through direct loan modification relief, including principal reduction.
For more information about eligibility and filing a claim:
· Call toll-free: 1-866-430-8358 (hearing impaired: 1-866-494-8281. The line is staffed Monday through Friday from (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern).