National Mortgage Settlement
On February 9, 2012, Attorney General Tom Horne announced that Arizona joined a landmark $25 billion joint federal-state agreement with the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers over foreclosure abuses and fraud and unacceptable nationwide residential mortgage servicing practices. At the same time, Horne announced a separate settlement resolving a pending lawsuit against Bank of America. Arizona’s share of the national settlement was expected to exceed $1.6 billion. (Read more here).
The national mortgage settlement has provided a range of relief to Arizonans impacted by the mortgage and housing crisis, including tough new mortgage loan servicing standards, a gross total of $1.8 billion in consumer relief activities for borrowers such as principal reduction (8/5/13) and more than $96.5 million in payments to borrowers whose home was foreclosed on by one of the five banks (8/5/13). The mortgage settlements also provided more than $57 million in state payment funds to the Arizona Attorney General to distribute. Attorney General Horne first announced his allocation plans in September, 2012 (9/24/12), and later announced contract awards for housing counseling, legal services and other programs designed to assist Arizonans hit by the mortgage crisis.(6/13/13).
In addition, Attorney General Horne continues to aggressively prosecute mortgage fraud, both civilly and criminally. Here are a few examples of mortgage cases:
- State of Arizona v. Making All Homes Affordable, LLC
- State of Arizona v. Lender Processing Services, Inc.
- State of Arizona v. Macey Aleman & Searns
- State of Arizona v. Mortgage Assistance Group
Horne also warns consumers of upcoming trends, including potential timeshare scams (3/8/13), so-called mortgage loan audit services (1/9/13) and scammers attempting to charge fees to borrowers eligible for mortgage settlement assistance (4/24/12).