St Johns County homeowners, who are part of a class of victims of suspicious foreclosure practices in Florida, have received a share of $1.7 billion in assistance including primary and secondary lien principal forgiveness, refinancing and deficiency waivers, according to Attorney General Pam Bondi — but, there is more to come.
Bondi told Historic City News reporters yesterday that federal regulators released an interim, unaudited report; indicating that more than 23,000 Florida homeowners have received some form of assistance as part of a settlement with Bank of America, Citibank, Ally Financial, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo in April.
“I am pleased to see that progress is being made under the settlement as the mortgage servicers begin to implement procedures designed to fulfill their obligations to Florida’s homeowners,” Attorney General Pam Bondi told reporters. “I will continue to work with the monitor to ensure that the mortgage servicers fulfill their obligations under the settlement agreement.”
Joseph Smith, the national mortgage settlement monitor, reports that $10.56 billion has gone to consumer relief nationwide as part of the settlement between the country’s five largest banks, Bondi, and attorneys general from 49 other states and Washington, D.C.
The settlement stems from an investigation into the use of disreputable lawyers operating what were described as “foreclosure mills” where clerks and staff members in the law offices “robo-signed” thousands of foreclosure documents each day with little review of the actual papers.
Consequences reported included several instances of banks foreclosing on the wrong property or not owning the note on the mortgage they were attempting to foreclose.
The entire settlement is for $25 billion, and Florida’s take is $8.4 billion. About $7.6 billion will go to loan modifications for affected homeowners, with another $309 million going toward refinancing loans.
Bondi and legislative leaders are tussling over spending $334 million in lawyers’ fees given to the state as part of the settlement. The settlement allows the money to be spent on legal assistance and housing education for consumers.
Bondi thinks the settlement gives her the discretion to spend the money. Legislative leaders say the Florida Constitution gives them the sole ability to allocate funds.