Law Offices of David P. Leibowitz LLC
Lakelaw is a registered assumed name for Law Offices of David P. Leibowitz LLC
As of now, there has been no news from Illinois about the mortgage foreclosure settlement and how funds would be distributed. However, Wisconsin’s Governor, Scott Walker, and the attorney general, J.B. Van Hollen, have announced that $25.6 million of the $31.6 million received would go to fix the budget deficit instead of helping homeowners.
When the states received tobacco settlement money years ago, many states elected to do the same thing. In this case, however, the issue is not one of compensating smokers. After all, paying smokers or the victims of deceased smokers would do little to stop smoking or solve the outbreak of cancer and other health concerns that smoking caused. Paying homeowners, however, or writing down principal on mortgages to reflect the fair value of properties would absolutely have done more for the economy.
Instead of suddenly becoming tight-fisted, allowing homeowners to break even on homes instead of remaining underwater would arguably do more to stimulate spending and restore consumer confidence in homebuying. Instead, the foreclosure crisis will most likely lead to more lost houses and depressed home values until the market bottoms out. This could take years. This certainly won’t be good news for homeowners looking to refinance, to borrow from home equity, or to sell their homes (rental, vacation, or homestead) in the next few years.
Will other states follow Wisconsin’s lead and funnel the money into fixing a budget deficit or attack the foreclosure problem directly by paying down principal and encouraging modifications to stop foreclosures and save the homes of their residents? What role will this have in the upcoming recall elections? Stay tuned for more.
Today a national mortgage settlement was announced with five of the country’s biggest servicers: Ally (GMAC), Bank of America, Citi, Chase and Wells Fargo. A website was even created to answer some of the most basic questions – and direct the rest of your questions to the servicers. So if you have questions about what relief you are supposed to receive – call the parties that committed the robosigning and other bad acts in the first place!
What this means for homeowners who are still suing these lenders and servicers is unclear. The settlement terms supposedly allow lawsuits against the servicers and the mysterious MERS Corp., allow criminal actions against the servicers, send some money to foreclosed borrowers from January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2011, and provide money to the states for principal reductions on first and second mortgages.
What are your thoughts? Is the $25 billion received in the settlement enough? Will the nationwide servicing standards actually be enforced against the servicers if they continue to improperly foreclose? Will homeowners who lost their houses due to unethical and possibly illegal activity ever get compensated? Will the money to help write down some mortgages slow or stop the ongoing foreclosure crisis? Only time will tell. But don’t let this news stop you from calling us at (866) LAKELAW or (262) 694-7300 in Wisconsin if you are still facing foreclosure or have questions about your mortgage and other debts.