Attorney General’s Office to Expand Mortgage Relief Efforts over Next Three Years
Phoenix, AZ (Thursday, June 13, 2013) – Attorney General Tom Horne is today announcing in a press conference millions of dollars of resources to assist struggling homeowners made possible from the settlement reached with banks. The funds to help keep Arizonans in their homes are part of the settlement with the nation's five largest mortgage loan servicers (Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo), along with the separate settlement with Bank of America.
Restitution checks in the amount of $1,480 for people who lost their homes to foreclosure started to be sent out to people who filed claims with the AGO this week. The original estimate of direct restitution had been approximately $845. People can expect their checks over the coming weeks. The individuals receiving the checks waived nothing in order to receive restitution and may still pursue all remedies for wrongful conduct.
When the settlement was first made, it was announced that $1.6 billion would go to Arizona homeowners, most of it directly from banks. Banks report to date that help has been given in the amount of $1.9 billion.
In addition, $57 million of relief was to be administered directly by the AGO. The legislative authorization to spend this money was signed by the Governor on April 17, 2013. Immediately the AGO began signing contracts with outside agencies to assist in the administration of this help.
This is a breakdown of the $57 million:
|Direct Assistance to help keep people in their homes, and Consumer Restitution:||$41 million|
|Enforcement and Monitoring ($1.6 million per year for 3 years):||$ 5 million|
|Housing Counseling ($1.6 million per year or 3 years):||$ 5 million|
|Legal Services ($1.3 million per year for 3 years):||$ 4 million|
|Outreach, Marketing, Education ($666,000 per year for 3 years)||$ 2 million|
"For more than a year, our Office has been working diligently to help Arizona consumers who were devastated by the mortgage crisis, and the legislature’s approval will help us do even more,” Horne said, referring to House Bill 2154 becoming law and confirming his authority to distribute mortgage settlement funds in accordance with the court approved settlements. “Although the housing market is showing signs of improvement, thousands of Arizonans are seeking help to stay in their homes so there is still work to be done.”
Since the mortgage settlements were announced in February of 2012, the Attorney General’s Office has answered more than 4,000 consumer phone calls, 2,560 emails, and received more than 1,900 written complaints from consumers related to the mortgage crisis. A significant number of these contacts resulted in homeowners avoiding foreclosure, obtaining reductions in interest rates or principal amounts, or receiving restitution from businesses that charged improper fees or failed to do promised work. In addition, the Office continues to aggressively prosecute foreclosure rescue companies, and those involved in mortgage fraud at both the civil and criminal levels.
People with questions regarding the mortgage settlements or who wish to file a consumer complaint can visit our website at www.azag.gov/foreclosure, contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 602-542-1797 or 1-855-256-2834 (outside Phoenix area).
An overview describing the AGO's mortgage related activities since the mortgage settlements were announced last year is available at www.azag.gov.