Consumer Watch: Relief for foreclosed-upon homeowners


by Andy Treinen

Posted on February 21, 2012 at 5:34 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 21 at 5:42 PM

(WHAS11) – Between 2009 and 2011 mortgage lenders foreclosed on millions of American homes resulting in about 750,000 homeowners losing their property.

Compensation is now available to those homeowners.

That compensation to foreclosed-upon homeowners comes in more than one form. The nations five biggest banks have already settled with state attorney generals,  creating a $26 billion fund for those ex-homeowners.  And now there's other compensation available through the end of July.

Americans whose real estate investments got them in hot water, or under water, now have extra time to get some money back.

Nearly 4.3 million who lost their homes to foreclosure in 2009 and 2010 have until the end of this month to request an independent review of how that foreclosure was handled, but only 90,000 eligible homeowners have submitted claims since the government set up the process with 14 mortgage servicers last April. The feds have now extended that deadline until July 31.

Independent consultants are prepared to investigate foreclosure abuses. If reviews find consumers suffered "financial injury," lenders could have to repay anything from a single fee, to the full cost of a wrongfully-repossessed home.

Wronged homeowners have a second avenue to getting money back from shady foreclosures.
Two weeks ago, the Obama administration and 49 states brokered a deal with the five largest US banks.

“They punished American taxpayers, who have had to foot the bill for foreclosures that could have been avoided,” US attorney general Eric Holder said.

That deal seeks to right foreclosure wrongs such as robo-signings and seizures without proper paperwork. It offers mortgage relief, including reducing principal balances, facilitating low-interest refinancing, and returning up to $2,000 to homeowners who lost their property.