Saturday, May 26, 2018
Business

Many homeowners with Bank of America mortgages to get modification offers

LOS ANGELES — Homeowners with Bank of America mortgages have good reason to check their mailboxes.

The lender said Tuesday that it has begun mailing letters to customers who may qualify to have their home loans reduced as part of a multistate settlement over alleged foreclosure abuses.

The company, based in Charlotte, N.C., estimates that more than 200,000 of its customers could potentially be in line for a reduction in the principal balance on their mortgage.

Some customers could receive letters from the bank as early as this week that invite them to provide financial information as part of a review process for the program. The bank plans to have mailed out most of the letters by the end of the third quarter.

Bank of America estimates that customers who end up receiving the loan modifications will save, on average, 30 percent a month on their mortgage payments.

Among the criteria to qualify, borrowers must owe more on their mortgage than the property is worth and be at least 60 days behind on payments as of Jan. 31.

Bank of America will reduce the amount owed by the homeowners by as much as $100,000 in some cases. And only mortgages that are currently owned by Bank of America will qualify. Those that are owned by government entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or backed by the Federal Housing Administration, will not be eligible.

The lender said it began reducing the principal balance on mortgages in March, focusing initially on homeowners who already had a loan modification bid under review.

Under this initiative, the bank said it has mailed 5,000 trial modification offers, representing potentially more than $700 million in forgiven principal balances.

Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Ally Financial agreed to a $25 billion settlement with 49 state attorneys general and federal officials in February.

Most of the settlement is earmarked for reducing loans for about 1 million U.S. households that owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.

About 11 million American households are "underwater" on their mortgages, meaning they owe more than their homes are worth. The broader settlement is expected to reduce loans for only about 1 million of those Americans and send checks to others who were improperly foreclosed upon.

Of the five major lenders, Bank of America's penalties were the highest at $11.8 billion.

The settlement ended a painful chapter of the financial crisis, when home values sank and millions edged toward foreclosure. Lender abuses exacerbated the crisis. Many companies processed foreclosures without verifying documents. Some employees signed papers they hadn't read or used fake signatures to speed foreclosures, a practice known as robo-signing.

Comments
An American Airlines passenger was refused beer - so he screamed, fought and spit blood, FBI says

An American Airlines passenger was refused beer - so he screamed, fought and spit blood, FBI says

It began, as so many plane debacles seem to, with strange sounds in the bathroom.They were the noises of Jason Felix, one of the passengers on Wednesday’s American Airlines flight out of Saint Croix, according to a FBI affidavit recounting events lea...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Is the Lightning’s Jeff Vinik the best owner in professional sports?

Is the Lightning’s Jeff Vinik the best owner in professional sports?

Hope of another Stanley Cup has dissolved, and soon the ice will follow. Yet even if sorrow is the price of devotion, the true hockey fans will still buy in when the next season comes around.That concept may not be unique to Tampa Bay, but it does se...
Published: 05/26/18
Five members of 69ers motorcycle gang indicted on federal charges

Five members of 69ers motorcycle gang indicted on federal charges

Last year three members of the 69ers Motorcycle Club gang were implicated in the execution of a rival gang leader in the middle of rush hour traffic in Pasco County.Now those three and two other 69ers members have been indicted on federal charges tha...
Published: 05/25/18
With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

TAMPA — Behind the construction walls near the carousel at ZooTampa at Lowry Park, hammers, saws and power drills made a racket in the blazing Friday heat. A raft full of 100-pound water jugs took test trips on the new Roaring Springs ride set ...
Published: 05/25/18
U.S. news outlets block European readers over new privacy rules

U.S. news outlets block European readers over new privacy rules

LONDON — U.S. news outlets including The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Orlando Sentinel and The Arizona Daily Star abruptly blocked access to their websites from Europe on Friday, choosing to black out readers rather than comply with a ...
Published: 05/25/18
Tampa Electric appeals OSHA findings for October accident

Tampa Electric appeals OSHA findings for October accident

TAMPA — Tampa Electric Co. is appealing a recent citation by federal regulators. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration hit the utility with a $76,050 fine and a "serious" violation in April following its investigation into an accident in ...
Published: 05/25/18
Fiat Chrysler recalls 4.8 million cars, warning owners: Don’t use the cruise control

Fiat Chrysler recalls 4.8 million cars, warning owners: Don’t use the cruise control

Associated PressDETROIT — Fiat Chrysler is recalling 4.8 million vehicles in the U.S. because in rare but terrifying circumstances, drivers may not be able to turn off the cruise control. The company is warning owners not to use cruise control until...
Published: 05/25/18
Federal Reserve chairman warns his agency must be free from political pressure

Federal Reserve chairman warns his agency must be free from political pressure

Associated PressFederal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned Friday that the Fed’s independence from political pressure must be respected if it is to succeed in controlling inflation, maximizing employment and regulating the financial system. His re...
Published: 05/25/18
Restaurants like Ford’s Garage use the experience to get you in the door

Restaurants like Ford’s Garage use the experience to get you in the door

Tim Butler’s first car was a Ford Model A pick-up truck — a pearl fawn and cherry red pick-up he got his senior year in high school from his dad, who renovates antique cars. That’s why as Butler waited for a table at the Ford’...
Published: 05/25/18
St. Petersburg man fined $507,513 in penny stock scheme

St. Petersburg man fined $507,513 in penny stock scheme

TAMPA — A St. Petersburg man was fined $507,513 and permanently barred from participating in the offering of a penny stock in a case involving a scheme to manipulate the price of Aureus, a penny stock company incorporated in Nevada, officials said Fr...
Published: 05/25/18