EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSLANDMARK MORTGAGE SETTLEMENT
from Eyewitness News Online
West Virginia Gets $33.8 Million In National Mortgage Lending Deal
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: Troy Morgan
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Feb. 9, 2012 10:29 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 10, 2012 10:47 PM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
A landmark settlement was announced on Thursday that could mean much needed relief for thousands of West Virginians facing, or who have lost their homes to foreclosure.
The overall $25 billion settlement involves 49 states. West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw says $33.8 million of the money will go straight to struggling West Virginians taken advantage of by the nation's five largest lenders.
"I've been trying everything possible to save my home, and then they go and pull sneak tactics like this," said Gloria Scott. She and her husband Roger have a home that sits on 45-acres in Wayne County. For five years they say they've been in limbo with Wells Fargo trying to get a loan modification.
"I pay $500, it went $900, it'd be $700. Now, it's $1,700. I mean, it's never been the same amount," she said.
McGraw says their story isn't uncommon.
"This in total effects fewer than 4,000 people," he said.
On Thursday, McGraw announced a landmark settlement stemming from foreclosure and mortgage fraud and abuse by the nation's five largest lenders. They are Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Well Fargo, Citigroup, and GMAC/Ally Financial.
The agreement will give an immediate $2,000 payment to every homeowner who lost their home to foreclosure between 2008 and 2011. It also includes $18.4 million in loan modifications and benefits to homeowners in default or foreclosures, $5.7 million in free financing for "underwater" current homeowners, and $6 million for foreclosure and mortgage assistance and prevention programs.
"The big thing about this is that it gives everyone the possibility for a review," said McGraw.
Mortgage reviews by the banks that could help homeowners like Charles and Mary Kerns of Berkeley stay in their home.
"We've been fighting for our home for over three years and our home is worth fighting for. We want to keep our home," said Mary.
"I feel like somebody's actually looking out for me now," said her husband.
McGraw says they've obtained some accountability from the banks for their roles in the country's mortgage meltdown and put a stop to the abusive behavior.
"Eventually I'll pay twice for the house what I should have had to pay for it to begin with," said Charles Kerns.
But for the families, it's all about staying in their homes, and they're hopeful the agreement will come to their rescue.
"I hope so, I really hope so," said Gloria Scott. "If it don't help us out, it might help somebody else out," said her husband, Roger.
If you think you could benefit from the settlement, call the West Virginia Attorney General's Office Consumer Hotline at 1-800-368-8808, of your local bank if you're a customer of one of the five banks part of the settlement.
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