Online Staff Report
CHICAGO — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced that $20 million in funding from the national foreclosure settlement reached this year will be given to legal assistance programs in Illinois to address the current foreclosure crisis and to provide access to the justice system for homeowners and renters.
“The one sector of our economy that has shown limited signs of recovery is the housing market,” Madigan said. “Providing critical resources for legal assistance programs will create a domino effect in the marketplace. Helping a family stay in their home benefits not just that family, but the surrounding community, as well as local and state governments, all of which must happen to stabilize the housing market and revitalize the economy.”
Madigan’s announcement stems from her role in securing a $25 billion national settlement in February with the nation’s five largest bank mortgage servicers — Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank and Ally Bank, formerly GMAC. The settlement addressed allegations of widespread “robo-signing” of foreclosure documents and other fraudulent practices while servicing loans of struggling homeowners.
As part of the settlement, the Attorney General’s office will recover money from the banks to remediate the historic levels of foreclosure in Illinois.
Madigan’s announcement is the first step in the distribution of that funding to be used to assist homeowners and communities to recover from this crisis through funding for legal assistance programs, housing counseling services and community revitalization efforts statewide.
“We need to give homeowners a fighting chance to save their homes from foreclosure,” Madigan said. “The best way we can help is by providing distressed borrowers with legal representation to ensure they have an advocate to fight for them in the courtroom and that they will be treated fairly in the process.”
The settlement will also provide direct relief to affected borrowers in Illinois and completely overhaul mortgage servicing standards to prevent future abuses by lenders that many consumers have faced while trying to save their homes during the foreclosure process.
Madigan urged consumers seeking more information to contact her Homeowner’s Helpline at (866) 544-7151, or visit her website, www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/bankforeclosuresettlement.html. Borrowers can also visit www.NationalForeclosureSettlement.com.
Posted April 18, 2012