Foreclosure assistance checks from Countrywide and Bank of America.

Bank of America has started to notify homeowners of foreclosure assistance being offered to them. The customers who are eligible would have initially received their mortgage from Countrywide Financial Corp. They plan on issuing checks to borrowers who are eligible for the foreclosure assistance program, and they will begin to issue checks to homeowners during the first quarter of 2010.

This foreclosure relief program is just one of three different ways to get help. There are three components of the 2008 agreement that was reached between Bank of America, Countrywide, and various state Attorney Generals across the country.

The second component of the program, called the National Homeownership Retention Program, has a goal of establishing both affordable and sustainable monthly mortgage payments for up to 400,000 borrowers across the nation who financed their homes with payment option adjustable rate or sub prime  mortgages serviced by Countrywide. Bank of America, which bought Countrywide during 2008, reached a settlement last fall with numerous state attorneys generals across the country to make up to $150 million of foreclosure and mortgage relief available to certain homeowners who have experienced a foreclosure, short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure after the homeowner signed up for a Countrywide home mortgage. More on the National Homeownership Retention Program.

Am I eligible for the Retention Program?

There are some condition to receiving aid. In order to be eligible for the settlement and the checks from Bank of America, borrowers had to originate a Countrywide Financial mortgage sometime between January 2004 and December 2007. In addition, the borrower's home had to be foreclosed, short sold, or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure sometime between January 2004 and December 2008. Also, the homeowner had to receive sub-prime loans or pay option loans (e.g. adjustable rate mortgages) from Countrywide and have had to later lost their homes. While eligible borrowers should receive a letter from their state attorney general, claim forms, and postage-paid return envelopes, if you did not receive a letter you should contact Bank of America to ask about the program.





How do I join?

Residents of forty states will be participating in the foreclosure relief program and have been allocated funds and grants. Borrowers should be notified by a letter or notice from their state of Bank of America if they are eligible to receive a settlement payment, however contact them if you do not receive a letter. Payment amounts will vary. However, if you did not receive a letter, you should contact them to learn if you are qualified. Call 1.800.846.2222 to speak to BOA/Countrywide.

If you are eligible, you have only until October 22, 2009 to return the claim form and agreement to Countrywide Financial settlement administrator. The check does not come immediately. It is expected that the eligible borrowers will receive payment from Countrywide and Bank of America in early 2010.

In addition, foreclosed borrowers are also eligible for relocation assistance to help them move or find a new home. Countrywide anticipates paying almost $80 million to over 35,000 borrowers in participating states for the moving assistance.

Rust Consulting, who is a third-party administrator, is managing the process, including the foreclosure assistance notification and also payments to eligible customers in 40 U.S. states.




By Jon McNamara

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