Online Staff Report
CHICAGO — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) is reminding eligible Illinois borrowers that the deadline to file a claim form to receive a payment under the National Mortgage Foreclosure Settlement is Friday, Jan. 18.
Approximately 64,000 Illinois borrowers who lost their home to foreclosure between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2011, may be eligible to receive a payment under the national settlement, but only if they file a claim.
Eligible borrowers had mortgages serviced by Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase or Wells Fargo, the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers that agreed to the settlement with the federal government and attorneys general for 49 states and the District of Columbia.
The 2012 settlement earmarked approximately $1.5 billion in payments for approximately 2 million borrowers nationwide who lost their homes to foreclosure during 2008 to 2011 and had their loan serviced by one of the five settling servicers. The exact payment each borrower receives will depend upon the total number of borrowers who participate by filing a claim.
“The deadline to submit a claim is just days away,” Madigan said. “We know there are still thousands of eligible Illinois borrowers who haven’t stepped forward. I urge anyone whose mortgage was serviced by one of these five banks and who lost their home to foreclosure to contact the settlement administrator immediately.”
The national settlement administrator sent the initial claim form packets to Illinois borrowers between Sept. 24 and Oct. 12, 2012. Dec. 26, 2012, the settlement administrator mailed reminder claim form packets to all eligible borrowers who had not yet submitted a claim form.
Madigan urged eligible Illinois borrowers to complete their claim forms and return them as soon as possible in the envelope provided, or file them online at www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com by the Jan. 18 deadline. Payment checks are expected to be mailed in mid-2013.
Madigan said borrowers who have questions or need help filing their claim should contact the settlement administrator at 1-866-430-8358, or send questions by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The information line is staffed Monday through Friday from (7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central). Spanish-speaking representatives are available. All borrowers — regardless of which bank serviced their mortgage — should contact the settlement administrator through these channels.
Madigan said eligible borrowers do not need to prove financial harm to receive a payment, nor do they give up their rights to pursue a lawsuit against their mortgage servicer or to participate in the Independent Foreclosure Review Process being conducted by federal bank regulators. Eligible borrowers may get a payment from this settlement even if they participate in another foreclosure claims process. However, any payment received may reduce payments borrowers may be eligible to receive in any other foreclosure claim process or legal proceeding.
Madigan also warned borrowers to be on the lookout for potential scams connected to the foreclosure settlement. She instructed consumers to ignore any solicitations for upfront payments, and not to provide personal information to anyone who calls or e-mails claiming they are providing settlement-related assistance. If you believe someone is conducting a settlement-related scam, contact Madigan’s Homeowner Helpline at 1-866-544-7151 to report the incident.
The settlement addressed allegations of the five banks’ widespread “robo-signing” of foreclosure documents and other fraudulent practices while servicing loans of struggling homeowners. It is the second-largest settlement ever obtained through joint action of state attorneys general. In addition to providing more than $1 billion in relief to assist Illinois residents who have lost their homes, are underwater or at imminent risk of defaulting on their mortgages, the settlement also set new, more stringent mortgage servicing standards to prevent abuses by lenders that many consumers have faced while trying to save their homes and during the foreclosure process.
Posted Jan. 16, 2013