The restitution payments now being made by Countrywide, which is now owned by Bank of America, are intended to provide a small amount of relief to families who lost their homes from improper mortgages issued by Countrywide. While losing a home to foreclosure is among the most painful economic hardships a family or individual can face, these payment may make the stress just a little less.
Over forty attorneys general across the nation entered into a multi-state lawsuit and settlement with Countrywide which equaled more than $150 million in consumer restitution payments for people across the nation. The Indiana State Attorney General, Mr. Zoeller, has stated that letters will be mailed to thousands of Indiana families whose homes were foreclosed on by Countrywide. The letter will notify them that they are eligible to receive a restitution payment from Countrywide worth at minimum $1,500. Homeowners should also feel free to contact Countrywide directly rather than wait for a letter.
In addition to the restitution, payments being made, the settlement also includes a mortgage loan modification program which is called the National Homeownership Retention Program. The total aid provided by this program could reach over $8 billion in mortgage savings for homeowners. The goal of this aspect of the settlement is to help keep as many families in their homes as possible by modifying their loans and it could impact as many as 5,000 Hoosiers, and help them lower their payments and keep their homes.
There are some conditions to be eligible for the restitution, and they include include:
- The mortgage loan must have originated with Countrywide.
- The borrower needed to have resided in the property that served as collateral for the mortgage.
- The first payment on the mortgage was due between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2007.
- Also, the property that was used to secure the loan was lost through foreclosure, a short sale, or deed in lieu of foreclosure.
Dial 1-800-669-6607 to get more information. Note that Indiana homeowners do not need to agree to settle, and acceptance of the settlement payment is optional for each person. Borrowers will have up 90 days to sign and return a claim form and release to Countrywide, which will in effect give up their right to private action or additional lawsuits as it relates to the foreclosure. The minimum restitution payment a borrower will receive is just under $1,500, however some borrowers may choose not to return the release to them. If they decide on this action, the restitution payment borrowers may receive could be more than the minimum payment. However, the decision as to whether or not to participate in the settlement program with Countrywide should be based on the assumption that only the minimum payment will be received from the lender.
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