Nearly 1,000 Washington residents who lost their homes to foreclosure are a step closer to receiving some money to ease their pain, Attorney General Rob McKenna announced Thursday.
Letters signed by McKenna are being mailed this week to 962 Countrywide Financial borrowers in Washington who lost their homes, notifying them of their eligibility for relief under a 2008 agreement reached between a group of attorneys general and the lender's new owner, Bank of America.
Each will receive at least $962; the actual amount depends on the number of eligible consumers who file claims.
"It's important that Washington residents receive this relief as quickly as possible," McKenna said. "We'll be carefully monitoring the program to ensure Bank of America meets its obligations to Countrywide borrowers."
Rust Consulting of Minnesota is mailing the letters on behalf of the Attorney General's Office and will oversee the processing of claims. Eligible borrowers can find more information online at www.countrywidesettlementinfo.com or call 1-866-411-6987 (hearing impaired call 1-866-494-8397).
Rust Consulting will also be able to answer inquiries from Spanish-speaking callers. Borrowers should also call that number if they've moved and want to be sure the claim form is mailed to the correct address.
Attorneys general throughout the nation brought Countrywide actions amid allegations that the lender engaged in unfair and deceptive tactics in its loan-origination and servicing activities – and that borrowers often were put in unfair and unaffordable loans.
Washington and 39 other states reached an agreement in which Bank of America agreed to modify loan terms for Countrywide borrowers. Nearly 10,000 Washington homeowners are expected to receive about $200 million in loan payment relief as a result. The most recent statistics available from March 31 show that 1,220 Washington borrowers have received modifications so far with expected savings of more than $20.5 million. Nationally, as many as 400,000 Countrywide borrowers are expected to receive $8.4 billion in payment relief.
Under the settlement, the bank also allocated up to $150 million nationally for foreclosure relief. Washington will receive $1.8 million of that amount. Half will be distributed as checks to eligible consumers. The Attorney General's Office will use the remainder to fund programs to help struggling borrowers avoid foreclosure. A final decision on which programs will be funded is expected in 60 days.
Foreclosed borrowers are also eligible for relocation assistance. Countrywide anticipates paying more than $70 million to more than 35,000 borrowers in participating states. To date, Washington borrowers have received more than $246,000 in relocation assistance under the settlement.
More information about the settlement and relief for eligible consumers can be found on the Attorney General's Office Web site at www.atg.wa.gov/countrywide.aspx.