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National Mortgage Settlement Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

What is the settlement?

In February 2012, the Attorney General obtained a broad-ranging settlement from five major banks: Ally Financial, Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. The settlement created new servicing standards that remain in place until 2015; provided cash payments to many homeowners who were wrongly foreclosed upon; provided loan modification relief, short sale opportunities, and other relief to many distressed homeowners; and appointed a monitor to oversee the banks to make sure they complied with the settlement terms. In March 2014, the monitor confirmed that the five banks have satisfied their consumer relief and payment requirements under the settlement. For more information about the monitor’s role and the monitor’s report, please visit the monitor’s website at www.mortgageoversight.com.

How do I get a copy of the settlement agreement?

A copy of the settlement agreement with each of the five banks can be found as follows:

Am I eligible for relief under the settlement?

Homeowners who were wrongly foreclosed upon and who were otherwise eligible for the settlement were contacted by the settlement administrator, and settlement funds have already been distributed. In March 2014, the monitor reported that the five banks have already satisfied their consumer relief obligations under the settlement. This means that the five banks are not required to provide additional loan modifications or other relief to homeowners under the terms of the settlement. However, other options may be available to you. For assistance in requesting a loan modification or other relief, you can contact a HUD-approved housing counselor. These counselors are free and do not take money. You can find a list of California agencies that provide HUD-approved counseling here at HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies or by calling 1-800-569-4287. Again, these counselors are free. Be wary of anyone who charges you money for these service and be sure to research someone’s reputation and business practices carefully before paying anyone for these services.

To contact your bank directly to request assistance and see what options are available to you, you can use the following toll-free numbers:

  • Ally/GMAC: 1-800-766-4622
  • Bank of America/Countrywide: 1-877-488-7814
  • Citibank/CitiMortgage: 1-866-272-4749
  • JPMorgan Chase/Washington Mutual: 1-866-372-6901
  • Wells Fargo/Wachovia: 1-800-288-3212

For more information, please visit the National Foreclosure Settlement website at www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com .

Is my bank a part of the settlement?

The Attorney General has reached a settlement with the following five banks: Ally Financial, Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. Several of these banks are also known by other names, including Countrywide (a trade name for Bank of America); Washington Mutual and EMC Mortgage (Chase); CitiMortgage (Citibank), Wachovia Wells Fargo), and GMAC (Ally Financial).

How can I find out who owns or services my mortgage loan?

On your monthly mortgage statement, look for a contact phone number to ask who services or owns your mortgage loan. There are also tools on the Internet that may help you find this information. You may be able to learn the name of your servicer through an online database known as the MERS registry. Not all loans are included in the registry, but searching it is free. You can search for your loan’s servicer by going online to MERS Servicing Identification . You can also use the Internet to find out if your own is owned by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Most loans in the United States are owned by these two companies. Both of them provide online search tools so you can determine if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac owns your mortgage.

I am unhappy with the way my bank is handling my request for help with my mortgage. Who do I complain to about the bank?

You can file a complaint with the California Attorney General’s Office online, or by sending a letter to:

  • Office of the Attorney General
  • Public Inquiry Unit
  • P.O. Box 944255
  • Sacramento, CA 94244-2550

You can also file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a federal agency responsible for consumer financial protection.

I already lost my home to foreclosure. Am I eligible for any relief under the settlement?

As part of the settlement, a cash payment was available for some Californians whose loan was owned or serviced by Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank or GMAC and whose home was foreclosed upon between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011. However, please be advised that the deadline to file a claim was January 18, 2013 and claims are no longer being accepted. If you have questions, you may call the Settlement Administrator at 1-866-430-8358.

I lost my home to foreclosure and received my settlement payment from this settlement. I am unhappy with the dollar amount of the payment. Is there anything I can do?

The settlement payment is not intended to compensate you for the loss of your home. You were not required to give up your legal rights to participate in this settlement, you may wish to consult a private attorney for advice about any other legal claims you may have.

Can I still sue my bank if I got relief under the settlement?

Yes. The Attorney General fought hard to prevent a release of claims by individual consumers. This means that even if you got a settlement payment for a foreclosure, or if you received a loan modification or other relief under the settlement, you may still sue the banks for any legal claims you may have.

Can you give me advice on whether I have legal claims against my bank?

No. The Attorney General’s Office is not able to give you legal advice or any other advice on this matter. If you would like legal advice, please consult a private attorney or a legal aid attorney if you qualify. You may obtain a referral to a certified lawyer referral service by contacting the California State Bar at 1-866-442-2529 or at www.calbar.ca.gov. Click on the link for “Lawyer Referral Services” on the bottom left hand corner of the page. You can also download the California State Bar Association’s booklet about how to find the right attorney. If you cannot afford a private attorney and qualify for legal aid, you may consider contacting your local legal aid office. For a referral, visit www.lsc.gov and click on the Find Legal Assistance tab.

Where should I go for updates or new information about the settlement?

For more details and the most up-to-date information, please visit the National Foreclosure Settlement website.

Are the banks still subject to the Homeowner Bill of Right and the CFPB’s mortgage servicing rules?

Yes. In addition to the settlement’s servicing standards, which are in effect for three and one-half years, the banks must also comply with the California Homeowner Bill of Rights (HBOR) , which went into effect in January 2013. They must also comply with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB’s) mortgage servicing rules, which went into effect in January 2014. For more information about the CFPB’s mortgage servicing rules .

My bank is not one of the banks that settled with the Attorney General, but I am having the same problems that borrowers in this settlement are having. Can I file a complaint about my bank?

Yes. You can file a complaint with the California Attorney General’s Office online , or by sending a letter to:

  • Office of the Attorney General
  • Public Inquiry Unit
  • P.O. Box 944255
  • Sacramento, CA 94244-2550

You can also file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) , a federal agency responsible for consumer financial protection.


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