Virginians to Receive $410 million in Mortgage Settlement Benefits; State will get $69 Million
On February 9, President Obama and the state Attorneys General announced a $26 billion settlement with the five largest US mortgage servicers (Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Ally Bank and JP Morgan Chase). The government and states alleged that lenders committed fraud and abuse by, among other things, routinely pursuing foreclosures during the height of the housing crisis without knowing whether the documents they were drafting were accurate. Some companies processed foreclosures without verifying documents. Some employees signed papers they hadn't read or used false signatures to speed foreclosures - an action known as robo-signing.
Under the agreement, the states won't pursue civil charges related to these types of abuses. Homeowners can still sue lenders in civil court on their own, and federal and state authorities can pursue criminal charges. New servicing standards were agreed to which will put an end to these practices.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli joined in the settlement but disagreed with certain provisions. Follow this link to hear the Attorney General discuss the settlement.
During his State of the Union address, President Obama announced a series of enhancements to the Making Home Affordable Program, including the Home Affordable Modification Program. HAMP is the "flagship" foreclosure assistance program that has helped nearly a million homeowners with loan modifications. Private lenders have modified an additional 2.6 million mortgages.
These enhancements are intended to extend the reach of HAMP to a broader pool of struggling homeowners and provide a higher level of relief to those who participate. HUD offers a national, toll-free HOTLINE for borrowers who want to find out more - 888-995-HOPE (4673).
The elements of this expansion are broad and complex. They include:
Roanoke Symposium Highlights Successful Year for RRHN
RRHN Chair Karen Mason, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity in the Roanoke Valley with Nikki Giovanni, Distinguished Professor of English at Virginia Tech.
Last year the Roanoke Regional Housing Network (RRHN) organized Regional Symposiums on housing issues designed to share best practices, discuss innovation and listen to new ideas regarding housing throughout the region. The 2011 Symposium was held at the Vinton War Memorial and welcomed the keynote speaker, Nikki Giovanni, Distinguished Professor of English at Virginia Tech. Kit Hale, Housing Virginia's Chair, introduced professor Giovanni's keynote speech.
The focus of the Regional Housing Symposium was the changing nature of housing issues facing the Roanoke Region. The effort to find solutions for safe, decent and affordable housing in localities are moving away from addressing the issue in isolation from other factors facing individuals and families during times of economic downturn. Economic development, job creation, transportation, land use and environmental factors are now exerting greater influence in shaping housing policy.
The Roanoke Regional Housing Network is a standing committee of the Council of Community Services. The mission of the Roanoke Regional Housing Network (RRHN) is to provide a forum for the region's housing interests to become proactively involved with housing issues. RRHN has been a partner with Housing Virginia for five years.