For Immediate Release - February 11, 2013

One Year Later: National Mortgage Settlement Brings Millions of Dollars in Relief to Massachusetts Homeowners

AG Coakley’s HomeCorps Program Has Resolved More Than 4,600 Cases For Homeowners, Prevented Hundreds of Foreclosure Auctions

BOSTON – Thousands of Massachusetts homeowners on the brink of foreclosure have received assistance in the year since Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a $25 billion national settlement with the five major lenders over their servicing and foreclosure practices.  This success has been driven in large part by the AG’s first-in-the nation HomeCorps program which her office created and launched last April and has already directly assisted more than 4,600 borrowers in Massachusetts, more than a thousand of whom have now received permanent loan modifications.

“One year since this historic settlement, our innovative HomeCorps program has worked homeowner-by-homeowner to bring millions of dollars in relief and help them stay in their homes,” AG Coakley said. “Preventing foreclosures and stabilizing the housing market are key steps toward rebuilding our economy and we will continue to ensure that all Massachusetts borrowers receive the relief they deserve.”

The settlement announced on Feb. 9, 2012, involving the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers and their connection with unlawful foreclosures and loan servicing, brought $318 million in relief to Massachusetts borrowers, including a direct payment of more than $44.5 million to the Commonwealth, used in part to establish the AG’s HomeCorps program and offer grants aimed at helping to mitigate the impact of the foreclosure crisis.

The settlement’s monitor reported in August that Massachusetts homeowners have already been provided more than $100 million in relief through loan modifications, refinancing and other types of mortgage relief available under the settlement, a number higher than any other New England state. The AG’s ability to work directly with homeowners through the HomeCorps program has helped to ensure that Massachusetts’ borrowers are first in line for this relief.

The HomeCorps Hotline, first launched last April, now receives around 70 calls a day from distressed borrowers in Massachusetts. Some homeowners call with a foreclosure date just weeks or days away. Since its inception, HomeCorps has prevented 427 foreclosure auctions creating an opportunity for the homeowner to negotiate a reasonable loan modification with affordable payments. The AG’s HomeCorps loan modification specialists have helped resolve more than 4,600 cases and achieved more than 1,100 permanent loan modifications, including more than $13 million in principal reduction relief for borrowers.

One Medford woman – a single mother of three – made payments on her home without a problem until she lost three separate jobs in 2008 in the midst of the economic crisis. She was quickly behind in her payments and racked up late fees. By the time she returned to work, the damage had been done. She was underwater and feared she would lose her home of 17 years.  She sent paperwork back and forth to her mortgage company for more than a year, hoping to receive a modification on the loan, but the company always informed her additional paperwork was missing. After receiving a foreclosure notice and auction date in the mail, she finally reached out to the AG’s HomeCorps program for help. She now has a successful loan modification with payments she can afford, keeping her family in the home.

Since the program launched, HomeCorps has expanded a series of additional initiatives to directly help homeowners. These include a Borrower Representation Initiative to assist homeowners with legal issues that must first be resolved prior to a loan modification or other relief. A Borrower Recovery Initiative was also established to prevent homelessness and help borrowers stabilize and recover after the loss of home ownership due to foreclosure or after eviction that follows a foreclosure. HomeCorps also announced the opening of two satellite offices in Brockton and Lowell, offering direct, community-based assistance to communities heavily impacted by the foreclosure crisis.

In August, more than $19 million  was awarded to organizations and municipalities across the Commonwealth, including funds for HomeCorps’ Municipal and Community Restoration Grants and Crisis Response Innovation Grants, designed to assist communities mitigate the impacts of the foreclosure crisis on cities and towns in Massachusetts. 

HOMECORPS BY THE NUMBERS:

  • Since its inception last April, the HomeCorps hotline has received more than 15,700 calls from distressed borrowers
  • The hotline now averages 70 calls per day
  • To date the AG’s Office has facilitated more than 1,100 permanent modifications for homeowners
  • HomeCorps has resolved more than 4,600 cases
  • A total of 427 foreclosure auctions have been prevented
  • More than $13 million has been achieved in principal reduction relief

Homeowners facing foreclosure are encouraged to contact the HomeCorps Hotline at 617-573-5333. Additional Information about HomeCorps, those organization and municipalities awarded grants, and the terms of the National Settlement can be found on our website at www.mass.gov/ago/homecorps.

As part of the one year review of the National Settlement, the AG’s Office is launching a series of events this week to highlight its innovative programs and advocate for further changes.

  • Tuesday, Feb. 12: AG Coakley will give opening remarks at Statewide Housing Foreclosure Counselor Training, jointly sponsored by the AG’s Office, Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association, and the Mel King Institute, commemorating the anniversary of the historic National Mortgage Settlement.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 13: AG Coakley will join Lowell Mayor Patrick Murphy and representatives of area housing organizations at Lowell City Hall for a roundtable discussion of the foreclosure crisis, and the prevention efforts her office’s HomeCorps program.

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