The nation’s largest mortgage servicers have distributed $50.63 billion in direct relief to over 620,000 homeowners, or roughly $81,000 per homeowner as part of the National Mortgage Settlement, according to a progress update released by independent settlement monitor Joseph A. Smith of the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight. Over one year ago, the Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. Department of Housing Urban Development (HUD) and 49 state attorneys general reached a landmark agreement with the nation's five largest mortgage servicers to address mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure abuses.
“One year in, it is clear that this historic settlement is making a profound difference on lives and communities," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "We have far surpassed expectations in our efforts to assist struggling Americans. Due to the efforts by 49 bipartisan state attorneys general and the federal government, hundreds of thousands of people are able to stay in their homes or avoid foreclosure, preventing the erosion of the social fabric of our communities. As a result of the settlement, over 620,000 homeowners have received on average more than $81,000 in benefits thus far."
The report demonstrates significant progress on the broadest and most robust principal reduction program in the nation’s history. Nearly $30 billion of the overall completed consumer relief has come in the form of principal forgiveness and refinancing. Because of the settlement, the principal reduction helps borrowers stay in their homes, lowering monthly payments on over 310,000 loans and actually reducing struggling homeowners’ loan balances by more than $83,000 on average.
“New York homeowners have received almost $2 billion in financial relief under the National Mortgage Settlement—far more than the federal government projected would flow to our state a year ago,” said Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. “While we are pleased that the benefits to homeowners -- including reduced debt, lower mortgage payments, and averted foreclosures -- have been substantial, our work is not finished. My office will continue to monitor the banks’ compliance with the settlement.”
According to data reported by the Monitor of the National Mortgage Settlement, 621,712 borrowers benefited from some type of consumer relief totaling $50.63 billion, which, on average, represents about $81,437 per borrower. This figure includes both completed Consumer Relief and active first lien trial modifications. The information is self-reported by the banks and will not be credited under the Settlement until each bank requests a review from the Monitor; to date, only the ResCap parties (formerly GMAC) have received credit.
“Since the Settlement was announced, I have released three prior progress reports that detailed the banks’ self-reported consumer relief data on a quarterly basis,” said Smith. “I believe it is important to continue to share this data with the public, and, accordingly have done so on my website. However, I have not prepared a full report on this data because I am focusing my time testing the banks’ year end consumer relief claims and giving them appropriate credit as outlined in the Settlement. This allows me to provide the public with credited reports as soon as possible."
In June, the Monitor also plans to submit his first required reports to the Court concerning his review of the banks’ compliance with the Settlement’s servicing standards.
“My professional firms and I are currently reviewing the banks’ compliance with the servicing standards,” said Smith. “Based on my conversations with consumer professionals, elected officials and distressed borrowers, I know there are areas in which the banks still have work to do, and I am using that insight to determine if there are gaps that require future testing. It is important to the integrity of this process that these compliance reports are thorough and accurate, and I will release them when I am confident they are complete.”
The Monitor is also developing one or more of his discretionary metrics, or tests, to better measure the banks’ performance on certain servicing standards. These new metrics are expected to be announced and implemented later this summer.