Mortgage Servicing Abuse Payments Total $7.7 Million for Borrowers Statewide
TRENTON – June 4, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced today that New Jersey borrowers who submitted a valid foreclosure payment claim through the National Mortgage Settlement will receive a check this month for approximately $1,480.
In 2012, Chiesa announced that New Jersey had joined a landmark $25 billion joint state-federal settlement that resolved a national investigation into alleged foreclosure abuses, fraud and unacceptable business practices by the country’s five largest mortgage servicers. The five settling mortgage servicers are Ally Financial, Bank of America, Citi, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo.
Nationally, designated settlement administrator Rust Consulting will mail 962,278 valid claim payments from June 10 through June 17. In New Jersey, approximately 5,300 borrowers will receive claims checks, and the overall dollar amount being paid out to borrowers is $7.76 million.
Attorney General Chiesa explained that the money being paid to New Jersey borrowers comes from a $1.5 billion payment pool negotiated and set aside by the states as part of the National Mortgage Settlement. He added that the claim payments do not preclude borrowers from seeking relief through their own legal action.
“These payments are part of the effort to compensate borrowers for the mortgage servicing abuses they experienced,” said Chiesa.
“In addition,” Chiesa said, “we believe the strict new mortgage servicing standards negotiated by the states as part of the National Mortgage Settlement will be effective in discouraging similar practices in the future.”
In February 2012, 49 state attorneys general and the federal government announced the joint state-federal National Mortgage Settlement with the country’s five largest mortgage servicers. The unprecedented joint, state-federal settlement was the result of a massive civil law enforcement investigation and initiative that included state Attorneys General and state banking regulators across the country, and nearly a dozen federal agencies.
The New Jersey Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Group and the Division of Consumer Affairs, both part of the Attorney General’s office, conducted a joint investigation reviewing consumer complaints, court filings and other relevant documents. The Attorney General’s office also conducted interviews with New Jersey borrowers affected by the servicers’ conduct. The problems identified during New Jersey’s investigation mirrored those encountered in other states.
Preliminary data shows that, so far, the servicers have provided more than $50 billion in direct settlement relief to borrowers nationwide.
A relatively small number of borrowers will not receive a check in the initial mailing later this month, or will receive a split payment. For example:
Some borrowers will receive a check for less than the approximate $1,480 payment in situations where borrowers are divorced or separated and no longer live at the same address. The full per-loan amount will be paid on these loans, but the payment will be evenly split between the borrowers.
A small number of borrowers who submitted a claim form but do not have a valid Social Security number on file will be delayed in receiving their payments while tax-related issues are addressed.
Two servicers recently provided information on an additional 31,000 borrowers, and thus they could not be included in this distribution. Later this summer, these consumers will receive a notice and will have the opportunity to submit a payment application.
Every borrower who filed a claim will receive a letter regarding their outcome. Borrowers with questions about their National Mortgage Settlement payment should call settlement administrator Rust Consulting at 1-866-430-8358.