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 Rules Jury Trial Not A Right In All TPPA Claims

A plaintiff does not have the right to a jury trial for a claim filed in circuit court under the Tennessee Public Protection Act, according to a Tennessee Supreme Court opinion filed Wednesday. The Court also determined that the Governmental Tort Liability Act does not apply to retaliatory discharge cases filed under the TPPA.  The case is an appeal by the former city administrator ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Attorney Censured

Attorney Barbara Sims Arthur of Chattanooga has been publicly censured by the Tennessee Supreme Court. The Board of Professional Responsibility filed a Petition for Discipline against Ms. Arthur pursuant to Rule 9, Rules of the Supreme Court based upon two complaints. In the first complaint, Ms. Arthur prepared two Chapter 13 Bankruptcy petitions, but was unable to ... (click for more)

DA Pinkston Asks City Police To Investigate Fatal Shooting By County Deputies Of Man They Chased Into The City Limits

District Attorney General Neal Pinkston has asked Chattanooga Police to investigate a fatal shooting involving Hamilton County deputies who chased a suspect from Old Lee Highway to Pine Marr Drive inside the city limits. At Pine Mar, the suspect crashed and shots were fired resulting in the suspect’s death.  DA Pinkston said he would have no further comment. Pine ... (click for more)

DISH And Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. Finalizing Long-Term Deal; Stations To Be Restored

DISH Network L.L.C. and Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. have reached an agreement in principle that will form the basis of a long-term retransmission consent agreement for carriage of Sinclair’s local channels in 79 markets nationwide. Restoration of Sinclair signals to DISH’s system is underway. “We are grateful for the FCC’s work on behalf of consumers to actively broker ... (click for more)

The Obvious In School Test Scores - And Response (3)

I have been watching what has become an annual event in Chattanooga, which is the hand wringing and blame game associated with low test scores in our schools.  I keep waiting for someone to bring up what should be obvious unless they either don't want to talk about it or think they shouldn't because it might not be politically correct.   1) The highest school test scores ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Her Heart Will Go On

Tonight’s a big night in Las Vegas, one of the biggest in quite a while. Celine Dion, truly one of the most magnificent singers of our time, will return to the stage of the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace after a year’s absence and, if you dare think you can get a seat, it has been sold out for months. Of course, they say in Vegas you can buy anything, but tonight is one of the toughest ... (click for more)