Mortgage Relief Didn't Help Many Keep Their Homes, Critics Say

September 25, 2013
Los Angeles Times 
mortgage lending news
While the five big banks involved in 2012's nationwide mortgage aid settlement have kept their promise to deliver billions of relief to homeowners, consumer advocates are disappointed that most of the assistance has come in the form of short sales and forgiveness of second mortgages. "We all wish there had been more principal reduction, which is what is most helpful in keeping people in homes," commented the California Reinvestment Coalition's Kevin Stein. While advocates had touted write-downs of first mortgages as the most effective strategy for keeping distressed borrowers in place, this method accounted for the least amount of aid provided under the agreement. The banks invested $10.4 billion in first-lien principal reductions, compared to $15 billion in second-mortgage forgiveness and almost $21 billion in short sale assistance. "It just shows you that the banks are running the government," declared Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America founder Bruce Marks. "There's virtually no benefit to borrowers, and yet you give the banks credit for short sales and getting second liens wiped out -- something they were going to have to do anyway."

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