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Editor’s note: Corporate Counsel wanted to find out what happened to the billions of dollars in mortgage relief promised to consumers in settlements between the government and misbehaving banks. Today is the first of four installments about our search and what we found. The full story will appear in the May issue of Corporate Counsel magazine.


Too Little, Too Late: Is There a Better Way to Help Homeowners?

Many Legal Aid Society lawyers in the trenches want a less bumpy path to help homeowners. For one thing, they would like to see the complicated legal process and tedious paperwork streamlined. John Gianola, managing attorney for Iowa Legal Aid’s foreclosure defense project, admits that the pressure on his group seems to have eased after the bank settlements with government. “At the height of the crisis, we were getting from 150 to 200 new cases a month,” Gianola recalls. “Now we average about 30.”

The Mortgage Relief Settlements: What Was Achieved?

Very little cash actually went to consumers. An exception was one settlement, with SunTrust Banks Inc., which simply sent checks for $1,330 to each foreclosed homeowner who qualified. But usually settlement relief funds were used for refinancing or to write off all or part of mortgage loans. Most of the settlements are still dispensing relief funds, so final figures won’t be in for at least a year or two.

In Mortgage Settlements, How Much Money Went to Consumers?

This question appears easy to tackle. Federal and state agencies have settled scores of cases with banks and other financial institutions since the financial crisis of 2008, but only a handful required significant consumer relief. Still, determining how much relief money is involved is complicated.

Were the Mortgage Relief Settlements Too Little, Too Late?

For the first time in history, government prosecutors got to play Robin Hood. They took billions of dollars from the banks, and they gave it—at least much of it—to needy consumers in the form of mortgage relief. So when monitor Joseph Smith Jr. submitted his final report on the landmark National Mortgage Settlement (NMS) in March, he signed off on what might be the riskiest, most unusual and even revolutionary government deal ever undertaken.

Editor’s note: Corporate Counsel wanted to find out what happened to the billions of dollars in mortgage relief promised to consumers in settlements between the government and misbehaving banks. Today is the first of four installments about our search and what we found. The full story will appear in the May issue of Corporate Counsel magazine.


Too Little, Too Late: Is There a Better Way to Help Homeowners?

Many Legal Aid Society lawyers in the trenches want a less bumpy path to help homeowners. For one thing, they would like to see the complicated legal process and tedious paperwork streamlined. John Gianola , managing attorney for Iowa Legal Aid ’s foreclosure defense project, admits that the pressure on his group seems to have eased after the bank settlements with government. “At the height of the crisis, we were getting from 150 to 200 new cases a month,” Gianola recalls. “Now we average about 30.”

The Mortgage Relief Settlements: What Was Achieved?

Very little cash actually went to consumers. An exception was one settlement, with SunTrust Banks Inc., which simply sent checks for $1,330 to each foreclosed homeowner who qualified. But usually settlement relief funds were used for refinancing or to write off all or part of mortgage loans. Most of the settlements are still dispensing relief funds, so final figures won’t be in for at least a year or two.

In Mortgage Settlements, How Much Money Went to Consumers?

This question appears easy to tackle. Federal and state agencies have settled scores of cases with banks and other financial institutions since the financial crisis of 2008, but only a handful required significant consumer relief. Still, determining how much relief money is involved is complicated.

Were the Mortgage Relief Settlements Too Little, Too Late?

For the first time in history, government prosecutors got to play Robin Hood. They took billions of dollars from the banks, and they gave it—at least much of it—to needy consumers in the form of mortgage relief. So when monitor Joseph Smith Jr. submitted his final report on the landmark National Mortgage Settlement ( NMS ) in March , he signed off on what might be the riskiest, most unusual and even revolutionary government deal ever undertaken.