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Foreclosure settlement mailers expected this week

Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna announced that one-time claim forms were being mailed out to 34,000 Washington state homeowners who lost their homes due to foreclosure in recent years.

Homeowners who had mortgages serviced by Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, and who also lost their homes between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2011, are eligible for a one-time payment, according to the Attorney General's (AG) office.

"This payment is partial compensation for mortgage servicers' illegal conduct and servicing abuses," McKenna said. "It's one part of a settlement that will bring $648 million in benefits to people struggling to hold on to their homes, including loan modifications and qualifying borrowers."

This next step in the settlement process continues what began in April, when $1.5 billion was earmarked for payments to 2 million borrowers nationwide who lost their homes to foreclosure since the economic downturn began.

According to McKenna's office, the size of the payments will depend on how many borrowers decide to participate in the process.

Here in Washington, eligible borrowers will receive a packet from the AG's office. Included in the packet are a claim form, instructions, and a frequently asked questions sheet. The packets began being mailed this week, and will continue being mailed out until Oct. 12. McKenna said he urges Washington residents to return the claim forms as quickly as possible, either by mailing them back or online at www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com. Claim assistance can be found at (866) 430-8358 or by email at administrator@nationalmortgagesettlement.com. The information line runs Monday-Friday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., Pacific Standard Time.

McKenna said that eligible borrowers do not need to prove financial harm to receive a payment, nor do they give up their rights to pursue other legal actions or participate in another oversight program created in the wake of the housing collapse, the Independent Foreclosure Review.

The AG's office counsels people who feel they should receive a claims form and don't, to contact the settlement administrator directly. Along with this, McKenna said residents should stay alert to possible scammers who have already been trying to take people's money as the massive settlement process gets under way.

"Do not provide personal information or pay anyone who calls or emails claiming they are providing settlement-related assistance," he said. "Homeowners should be on high alert for settlement-related scams. If you believe someone is conducting such a scam, contact (the AG's office) at (800) 551-6884 or file a complaint online. If you need help with your mortgage, call the free homeownership hotline at (877) 864-HOME (4663)."

 

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