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Way Signs "Bailout - Collapse"As the third round of foreclosure review checks went out Friday, my office is inundated with calls as to what these checks represent, and more importantly, will depositing them waive the borrowers rights to pursue banking and lending violations by the lender?

As of April 25, 2013, 1,150,328 recipients have cashed or deposited $1.1 billion in checks from the settlement reached in January between 13 servicers and federal regulators.  The servicers include Aurora Bank, Bank of America, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, Morgan Stanley, PNC, Sovereign, SunTrust, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.

This new agreement, which  replaces the poorly structured and obsolete “Independent Foreclosure Review process”, which required consent by the borrower, automatically calculates the amount of funds owed the borrower based on the amount of the loan, and arbitrarily remits checks by mail to the borrower.  Unlike the Independent Foreclosure Review, the new settlement is based on the “unpaid balance of the loan” and not the amount of assistance provided to the borrower.    This shifts the focus to assist higher priced homes with larger unpaid balances.  About 2.3 million borrowers will receive $300.00.

The payments will range between $300.00 and $125,000.00, depending on how much harm a borrower potentially suffered as a result of actions by the mortgage servicer.  The vast majority of the recipients of the $300.00 check, include borrowers who had a loan modification request approved but still ended up in foreclosure.  They also include more than 800,000 borrowers whose servicers did not participate in the loan modification or failed to offer any help, when their loan clearly merited it.

It is estimated that up to 1082 borrowers who lost homes in foreclosure even though they were protected by the military services may get up to $125,000.00 as well as those who lost homes in foreclosure and were not even in default. As crazy as that sounds, it has occurred.

Borrowers who were in an active bankruptcy  and the foreclosure sale went through anyhow, may be eligible to receive between $62,500.00 and $31,250.00 .

Overall, borrowers will only get a fraction of the amount they are truly entitled to based on bad banking practice and violation of law.

The banks that did not join the settlement include OneWest, EverBank and GMAC Mortgage.

The new agreement also does not require banks to fix a borrowers credit, specially if it was reported erroneously.  The borrowers would need to go after the bank independently to get any erroneous information removed or corrected.

The settlement will do little to repair the long standing effects of wrongly filed foreclosures, or sales of properties in foreclosure that should have never been sold. However, it is a start.

The final million dollar question remains …” will depositing the check result in a waiver and release of claims by the borrower against the servicer”.  As with all legal settlements, you are urged to consult with an attorney to review the specific terms of your particular settlement in advance of depositing any check, to see what, if any rights, are being waived.

Call us for a free consultation regarding your eligibility.

Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA

706 S. Dixie Highway

Second Floor

Coral Gables, FL 33146

305  |   669  |   5280