On Thursday, federal and state officials announced a $26 billion foreclosure settlement with five of the largest home lenders. California is expected to receive approximately $12 billion in principal write-downs, including through short sales, over the next three years, according to the state attorney general’s office.
Making sense of the story
- The deal settles potential state charges about allegations of improper foreclosures based on robo-signing, seizures made without proper paperwork.
- The settlement sets up a federal monitor to oversee the process and try to prevent the challenges that tripped up many homeowners seeking help in earlier programs designed to address the housing crisis.
- Most of the relief will go to those who are underwater on their homes. That relief will come over the course of the next three years, with banks having incentives to provide most of the relief in the next 12 months.
- At least $17 billion will go to reducing the principal owed by homeowners who are underwater and behind on their mortgages.
- Up to 750,000 other underwater homeowners who are current on their mortgages will be able to refinance their current loans at lower rates. They will not receive a reduction in principal, but with mortgage rates near record lows, they could receive substantial savings on their monthly payments.
- Approximately $1.5 billion will go to homeowners who had their homes foreclosed upon between Jan. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2011, and who meet other criteria. They will receive up to $2,000 each.
- The five mortgage servicers that are parties to the settlement include Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Ally Financial (formerly GMAC).