Funds available to help keep Arizonans in their homes

Millions of dollars of resources to assist struggling homeowners made possible from the settlement reached with banks is now available according to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. The funds to help keep Arizonans in their homes are part of the settlement with the nation’s five largest mortgage loan servicers (Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo), along with the separate settlement with Bank of America.

Restitution checks in the amount of $1,480 for people who lost their homes to foreclosure started to be sent out to people who filed claims with the AGO this week. The original estimate of direct restitution had been approximately $845. People can expect their checks over the coming weeks. The individuals receiving the checks waived nothing in order to receive restitution and may still pursue all remedies for wrongful conduct.

When the settlement was first made, it was announced that $1.6 billion would go to Arizona homeowners, most of it directly from banks. Banks report to date that help has been given in the amount of $1.9 billion.

In addition, $57 million of relief was to be administered directly by the AGO. The legislative authorization to spend this money was signed by the Governor on April 17, 2013. Immediately the AGO began signing contracts with outside agencies to assist in the administration of this help.

This is a breakdown of the $57 million:

Direct Assistance to help keep people in their homes, and Consumer Restitution: $41 million
Enforcement and Monitoring ($1.6 million per year for 3 years): $ 5 million
Housing Counseling ($1.6 million per year or 3 years): $ 5 million
Legal Services ($1.3 million per year for 3 years): $ 4 million
Outreach, Marketing, Education ($666,000 per year for 3 years): $ 2 million

Since the mortgage settlements were announced in February of 2012, the Attorney General’s Office has answered more than 4,000 consumer phone calls, 2,560 emails, and received more than 1,900 written complaints from consumers related to the mortgage crisis. A significant number of these contacts resulted in homeowners avoiding foreclosure, obtaining reductions in interest rates or principal amounts, or receiving restitution from businesses that charged improper fees or failed to do promised work. In addition, the Office continues to aggressively prosecute foreclosure rescue companies, and those involved in mortgage fraud at both the civil and criminal levels.

People with questions regarding the mortgage settlements or who wish to file a consumer complaint can visit our website at www.azag.gov/foreclosure, contact us by email at mortgagefraud@azag.gov, or by phone at 602-542-1797 or 1-855-256-2834 (outside Phoenix area).

An overview describing the AGO’s mortgage related activities since the mortgage settlements were announced last year is available at www.azag.gov.

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