Foreclosure Deal Nets $146M for Tennessee

Friday, February 3, 2012, Vol. 36, No. 5
By Andy Meek|Memphis Daily News

The state of Tennessee is participating in a $25 billion settlement announced Thursday, Feb. 9, between 49 states – all but Oklahoma – over foreclosure abuses from some of the nation’s biggest lenders.

Tennessee’s part of the deal is expected to provide an estimated $146 million in relief to homeowners in the state and address future mortgage loan servicing practices, according to the office of Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper.

The deal involves the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers. Tennessee homeowners who lost their homes to foreclosure by those companies – Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Ally Financial Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. – may qualify for a cash payment.

Funds from the settlement also will help borrowers across the state whether or not their loans were serviced by those companies by offering free foreclosure prevention counseling and other housing and legal aid programs.

“This agreement avoids protracted and costly litigation while providing significant and tangible relief to distressed homeowners,” Cooper said about the deal in a statement released by his office. “The benefits of this agreement today far outweigh the possible benefits that might be obtained after several years in court. Homeowners need the help now and an orderly resolution of these claims is in everyone’s interests.”

Under the agreement announced Thursday, certain Tennessee homeowners who are current on their loans with the settling servicers but haven’t been able to refinance at lower interest rates may now be able to do so. Other provisions of the agreement would require the servicers to reduce the loan balance of qualifying homeowners who owe more than their home is worth.

Participating mortgage servicers will contact borrowers directly regarding loan modification options. And servicers participating in the foreclosure settlement will have three years to fulfill the terms of the deal that has been more than a year in the making.