Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Guide to the Fed's Mortgage Settlement

A little over a month ago the federal government and 49 states revealed that they made a $25 billion settlement with five of the largest mortgage servicers to help homeowners who have lost their homes to foreclosure or need help making their payments on time. 

Much of the nitty-gritty part of the settlement is still being worked out. But the Center of Responsible Lending, a nonprofit group that supports the borrowers printed a summary and a preliminary guidebook to help consumers find out if they are eligible under the settlement. 

The guide is an overall outline of standards and conditions to help homeowners stay on top with their payments and determine if they qualify for benefits from the settlement. There are three categories by which the borrowers can determine the eligibility: 

Borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure, from Jan. 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2011 may be eligible for cash payment of $1,800 to $2,000. The loans must be serviced and owned by one of: Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase or Ally Financial (GMAC). 

Those who are currently underwater on their property—their home is worth less than they owe. Not only must your loan be serviced and owned by one of the five lenders listed above, the interest rate must be at least 5.25% or higher. 

For homeowners who are late or on the verge of missing payments you may be eligible to receive a modification of your home loan, which would reduce your monthly payments and lower your principal. Once again your loan must be serviced and owned by one of the five lenders.

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