Mortgage settlement helps homeowners in Washington

From staff reports:

An independent report released on Nov. 19 shows that more than 7,000 Washington state homeowners have been helped by the national mortgage settlement, according to Attorney General Rob McKenna's office.

"Borrowers in Washington state struggling to keep roofs over their heads have received more than $521 million in benefits from the settlement so far," McKenna said in a news release. "The settlement is doing exactly what was intended: providing loan modifications and refinances. Short-sale balances are being forgiven. Some borrowers receive lower principal amounts on their loans. It's a new lease on life for people who really need it."

The report comes from the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight, which was created in order to oversee the settlement between the five major lenders named in the original suit and all 50 states. That office is run by Joseph A. Smith, who says so far things seem to be occurring as they should.

"The relief the banks have reported is encouraging," Smith said. "The report discloses that the banks have completed $21.9 billion in consumer relief to borrowers between March 1 and September 30, 2012, and have an additional $4.2 billion still in active trial modifications. Borrowers have received $6.3 billon in the form of either first or second lien principal relief."

For those unsure of whether they're eligible for some part of the settlement, the AG's office encourages visiting

The five lending firms that were part of the settlement are Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Homeowners can also seek assistance by visiting the AG's website at


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