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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Bondi: $3.6 billion in mortgage relief helps 50,000

19

November

 Five of the nation’s largest banks have provided $3.6 billion in mortgage relief for Floridians as part of a nationwide foreclosure settlement, Attorney General Pam Bondi announced Monday.

The mortgage settlement, announced in February, has provided mortgage relief to nearly 50,000 Floridians, according to a monitor of the national program program.

“Florida was one of only two states in the country that negotiated a guarantee in the settlement,” said Bondi, in a statement. “The fact that servicers report $3.6 billion in relief to Florida’s borrowers within the first eight months of implementation is a promising indication that obtaining a minimum commitment from the banks has been effective.”

The five mortgage lenders -- Bank of America JPMorgan Chase Ally Financial, Wells Fargo and Citimortgage – are beginning to fulfill the terms of a $25 billion settlement with 49 attorneys general over foreclosure abuses and “robo-signing.”


The lenders have offered principal reductions, mortgage modifications, short sale relief and cash payments to states. The average Florida homeowner participating in the program has received $73,663 in relief.

The largest chunk of relief has come from Bank of America—about $2 billion to help 26,520 homeowners—followed by Chase at more than $1 billion. Both banks announced that they have fulfilled their Florida obligations under the settlement.

Nationwide, homeowners have received nearly $22 billion in relief.

“The relief the banks have reported is encouraging,” said national settlement monitor Joseph Smith. “But it is important to remember that no obligations will be met until I have reviewed, confirmed and credited them. I look forward to conducting that work in the coming months and reporting my findings to the public.”

An additional $240 million in additional relief for Florida is currently sitting in escrow until the Legislature decides how to use it.

Bondi originally said she had authority to spend the funding—which the banks had paid to the states—but lawmakers disagreed.

After several months of talks, lawmakers and Bondi reached an agreement earlier this month. Bondi said the money will eventually go to housing related programs, but the Legislature will meet next year to decide how the cash will be spent.

Florida was the last state to announce how the state-based funding will be used.

[Last modified: Monday, November 19, 2012 10:36am]

    

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