Massachusetts homeowners have received more than $610m in help from national mortgage deal
Thousands of Massachusetts homeowners have received more than $610 million in mortgage assistance from major US lenders as part of a national settlement with a multistate group of attorneys general, data released Tuesday show.
About 8,823 Massachusetts borrowers received on average of $69,180 in mortgage help since the settlement was reached early last year, according to preliminary data received by Joseph A. Smith Jr., the North Carolina-based monitor charged with overseeing the national accord.
“The banks have reported a significant relief for Massachusetts homeowners as required by our settlement with the five major lenders,’’ said Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, a key negotiator in the national pact. “Our office will continue to work aggressively to ensure Massachusetts borrowers receive all the assistance available under the settlement.”
The report comes more than a year after a $25 billion deal was reached between 49 state attorneys general and five lending companies over allegations of mortgage-related fraud and sloppy paperwork. The lenders involved include Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., Citibank, and Ally Financial Inc.
Nationwide since last year, 621,712 borrowers received some kind of financial assistance, totalling $50.6 billion, or an average of $81,437, Smith reported. Help can come in the form of money deducted from loan principal, lower interest rates, or so-called short sales -- lender approved sales of homes at prices below mortgage balances.
Smith emphasized that dollar amounts are self-reported by banks and not yet confirmed. The overall figure also does not represent a dollar-for-dollar match with the accord total because lenders receive only partial credit for certain types of mortgage help, including most short sales and forgiveness of second mortgages
In addition to financial relief, the settlement required lenders to make improvements in the way they service loans. Earlier this month, Coakley complained banks were violating that part of the agreement -- including by failing to offer help in a timely fashion, sending borrowers inaccurate and confusing information, and denying customers assistance without explaining why.
Smith said he is still reviewing such complaints and will submit a report on them next month.
“I know there are areas in which the banks still have work to do,” he said.Jenifer B. McKim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.