The five largest U.S. mortgage servicers so far have provided about $10.6 billion in relief to troubled borrowers under the terms of a $25 billion legal settlement over abusive foreclosure practices, according to a report released by a court-appointed monitor.
Most of that aid, $8.7 billion, came in the form of short sales, according to the report from the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight. Lenders including Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., also forgave $749.4 million in mortgage debt.
“There’s some evidence from this report that the banks are beginning to do some significant work on consumer relief,” said Joseph A. Smith Jr., the settlement monitor. “I’m not declaring victory, but I do think we’ve made a solid start.”
The report, a preliminary estimate of banks’ efforts, is not a formal assessment of their progress toward meeting their obligation under the settlement, which requires them to spend $20 billion on borrower relief and an additional $5 billion in payments to states and the federal government.
The settlement agreement, filed in federal court in Washington in February, was reached after attorneys general from all 50 states announced a probe into foreclosure practices following disclosures that banks were using faulty documents to seize homes.
The banks, also including Citigroup Inc. and Ally Financial Inc. negotiated the agreement with federal agencies, including the Justice Department, and 49 states.
About $17 billion of the agreement will pay for mortgage debt forgiveness, forbearance, short sales and other assistance to homeowners. Servicers will also provide $3 billion in refinancing to lower homeowners’ interest rates. The settlement also sets new standards for servicing loans aimed at preventing foreclosure abuses.
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