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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Bondi bashes Bank of America, threatens lawsuit over national mortgage settlement problems

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi criticized Bank of America on Thursday for failing to follow the rules of a national mortgage settlement reached last year over the practice of robo-signing during the height of the foreclosure crisis.

In a letter to Bank of America's lawyer, she accuses the banking giant of "troubling" practices, including sending state officials "litigation letters" and failing to modify mortgages in an efficient manner. She floats a future lawsuit against Bank of America or any of the other banks in the settlement as a possibility.

Bondi's letter comes a month after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman threatened to sue Bank of America and Wells Fargo over alleged noncompliance with the $25 billion settlement inked between the five largest banks and 49 attorneys general. 

Earlier this week, Bondi said she was talking to the banks to address the concerns.

"Eric Schneiderman can say he'll sue all day long, but there's a process that you go through first," she said after Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation related to the settlement. "There are stringent provisions under this settlement process, and we're doing everything to hold the banks accountable."

Bondi's letter claims that Bank of America could be violating several provisions of last year's settlement, including promises not to process foreclosures and loan modifications simultaneously on the same homeowner, and a requirement to provide a "single point of contact" for homeowners navigating the foreclosure prevention system. Several homeowners have complained of misinformation and lost documentation from banks as they tried to avoid foreclosures.

 

Bank of America said it has been one of the most successful banks at helping homeowners receive mortgage assistance, and will work to address any problems.

“Bank of America has extended more relief under the National Mortgage Settlement to customers in need of assistance than all other servicers combined, representing nearly 60% of relief across the program," a spokesperson said in a statement. 'We take seriously and work quickly to address any problems brought to our attention.”

 

Bondi's letter also outlines several individual cases where the attorney general's office has stepped in to help individual homeowners going through foreclosure with Bank of America.

"But for the intervention of my office, it is likely these borrowers would have lost their homes to foreclosure, despite their concerted efforts to obtain a loan modification or otherwise mitigate their losses by obtaining relief for which they were qualified," she wrote.

Bondi said she was "prepared to pursue" litigation if Bank of America does not adequately address the problems within the terms outlined by the settlement. Florida homeowners have received more than $8.4 billion in mortgage relief under the settlement, according to the national monitor.

Read Bondi's 5-page letter here

 

 

 

[Last modified: Friday, June 7, 2013 11:59am]

    

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