Banks Complete Consumer Relief Obligations Under National Mortgage Settlement

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Intended to address widespread foreclosure abuses that occurred at the height of the housing crisis, the National Mortgage Settlement reached a milestone this week. Joe Smith, the settlement monitor, announced that all five of the named banks have satisfied their consumer relief and refinancing obligations under the agreement. In total, the banks provided more than $50 million in credited relief nationwide, which translates to $20 billion in gross relief under the joint state-federal settlement. 

Tennessee received an estimated $240 million in relief including $180 million in refinances, principal reductions, and approved short sales.  Under the terms of the settlement, the majority of the credited relief went to help homeowners lower their mortgage payments and take them out of foreclosure. Over 4,000 Tennessee homeowners received some type of assistance under the settlement with an average individual benefit estimated at over $40,000.

The settlement included the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers:  Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citi, GMAC/Ally Financial and Wells Fargo.  After investigating complaints about foreclosure abuses from homeowners throughout the state, Tennessee participated on the multistate executive committee for 2012 settlement. 

“We are pleased to see that Tennesseans have received substantial benefits under the National Mortgage Settlement,” says Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper.  “In working with homeowners throughout the state, we have seen firsthand how the settlement has allowed struggling homeowners to lower their monthly payments and avoid foreclosure.”

The settlement’s monitor will continue to review the banks’ compliance with the settlement’s servicing standards. The standards require the five banks to evaluate homeowners for all options to foreclosure, including the federal Making Home Affordable Program, on a fair and timely basis. With the servicing standards still in effect, the Tennessee Attorney General’s office will continue to work with homeowners who have disputes with the five banks.

The state of Tennessee has also set up a free mortgage assistance hotline for all homeowners regardless of who services their mortgage. If having trouble paying a mortgage, call 855.876-7283. For a list of free housing counselors in the area, visit http://www.keepmytnhome.org.



Supreme Court Holds Personal Signature Of Party Appealing In Parental Termination Case Not Required

The Tennessee Supreme Court concluded that a father’s notice of appeal, signed by his attorney, but not the father personally, satisfies the statutory signature requirement for appeals in parental termination cases.  The Court remanded the case to the Court of Appeals for consideration of the father’s appeal on the merits.    In this parental termination case, ... (click for more)

Tennessee Supreme Court Clarifies Standards For Contesting A Will

The Tennessee Supreme Court reversed previous rulings that dismissed a lawsuit contesting the October 1, 2013 Will (“2013 Will”) of Dr. J. Don Brock, a resident of Hamilton County.  Dr. Brock died March 10, 2015, leaving a sizable estate. He is survived by his wife, seven children he and his former wife adopted, and two stepdaughters. Dr. Brock’s 2013 Will was admitted to ... (click for more)

5 Disinherited Adopted Children Of Dr. J. Don Brock May Share In Rich Estate After All

Five disinherited adopted children of the late Chattanooga businessman J. Don Brock may share in his large estate after all. After losing at the trial court and appeals court level, the plaintiffs won a victory at the Tennessee Supreme Court. Justice Cornelia Clark ruled in favor of the adopted children and remanded the case to the trial court for settlement of the estate. ... (click for more)

Walker County Asks Dismissal Of Erlanger Lawsuit Asking Court To Order New Taxes For Payment Of $8.7 Million Debt

Walker County, Ga., is asking the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Erlanger Health System that asks a federal judge to order the levying of taxes to pay an $8.7 million debt. Walker County noted that new Commissioner Shannon Whitfield has imposed a special tax levy on its citizens designed to satisfy the debt. It also says that Commissioner Whitfield held several meetings with ... (click for more)

Stormwater Fiasco And East Ridge Camping

When did the Chattanooga City Council get replaced by members of the East Ridge City Council? I don't recall a time in Chattanooga where they've voted to shoot the city in the foot more than they have lately.  If this goes through despite the environmental impact warnings and then Camp Jordan has increased flooding after spending millions on sports ball fields, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why I Am Thankful

You would think that after 40 years of publishing an annual list of things for which I am thankful, I’d be getting to the bottom of it, but it seems the older I get I have found I appreciate so much more around me. I take absolute delight in planting a flower, feeding the birds and throwing a ball for my dog. I find that the more people who I come to know the more who I come to ... (click for more)