2012-08-09 / Community

Help for homeowners found in legislation

LANSING - Michigan residents at risk of losing their homes due to faulty foreclosure processes and poor servicing of mortgages will get financial relief under legislation signed recently by Gov. Rick Snyder.

House Bill 5015, sponsored by state Rep. Chuck Moss, provides $97.2 million in supplemental funds from a national mortgage settlement to the Fiscal Year 2012 budget. Michigan’s share of the settlement will go to the Homeowner Protection Fund established in Senate Bill 1160, sponsored by state Sen. Tom Casperson, which Snyder also signed. The measures are now Public Acts 296 and 295 of 2012.

The fund will be used to help avoid preventable foreclosures, alleviate the effects of the foreclosure crisis, support law enforcement activities to prevent or prosecute financial fraud or deceptive practices, and to compensate the state for costs resulting from unlawful conduct of the defendants in the lawsuit.

“These funds will go a long way to help responsible homeowners who were defrauded by a few mortgage providers to mitigate the impact of the foreclosure crisis in Michigan,” Snyder said.

State Attorney General Bill Schuette joined 48 other state attorneys general earlier this year in entering into a settlement with the five leading bank mortgage servicers. The settlement addresses allegations of faulty foreclosure processes and poor servicing of mortgages that harmed Michigan homeowners. The settlement also requires comprehensive reforms of mortgage loan servicing to improve customer service for Michigan borrowers.

“I am very pleased that Michigan citizens affected by the foreclosure crisis will finally begin to see some relief,” said Schuette. “I value the leadership of Governor Snyder, Speaker Bolger, Majority Leader Richardville, Representatives Moss and Knollenberg, and Senators Kahn and Booher in fighting for Michigan families.

Residents who went through foreclosure with the participating banks from 2008-2011 may be eligible for cash payments. Current borrowers serviced by the banks may be eligible for loan modifications and other refinancing options.

The Homeowner Protection Fund will be used for the following eight initiatives:

• Foreclosure Rescue Scam Victim Restitution - $7.5 million. Many Michigan residents have fallen prey to foreclosure rescue scam artists who offered to help citizens save their homes. This fund will provide restitution payments of up to $3,000 per person for victims of foreclosure scams. Eligibility criteria to determine qualifying cases will be established at a later date.

• Assistance for Veterans - $5 million.

• Michigan Attorney General Home Protection Unit - $6 million.

• Blight Elimination - $25 million.

• Foreclosure Counseling for Homeowners - $20 million.

• Housing and Community Development Programs - $3.7 million.

• Grants to Help Homeowners Refinance - $5 million.

• Assistance to Homebuyers - $15 million.

Get more information at www.michigan.gov/mortgagesettlement.

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