$25 billion foreclosure settlement finalized

The record-setting deal involves five major lenders and 49 states, leaves banks open to future investigation

Years after the onset of the housing crisis, a record $25 billion foreclosure abuse settlement was reached between 49 state attorneys general and the country’s five largest mortgage lenders.

Payments from Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo will aid borrowers in need of loan modifications, compensate homeowners who lost their houses to foreclosure and fund state consumer protection programs. Homeowners from Oklahoma, the lone hold-out, will not be eligible for benefits.

The settlement also implements federally enforced guidelines that ban practices such as “robosigning” and mandate regular reviews of foreclosure documents to ensure the accuracy of lending information.

Some critics note that the financial terms of the settlement are relatively light—each of the five lenders will pay $5 billion dollars in penalties, though Bloomberg reports that mortgage and foreclosure costs have surpassed $72 billion nationwide. The deal also exempts the banks from any civil government suits dealing with faulty lending practices.

But the lenders aren’t in the clear yet, as they are still liable for any criminal suits brought by individuals or states. The settlement also leaves lenders open to federal investigations into other causes of the housing crisis, such as mortgage-backed securities and insurance fraud.

To read the highlights of the settlement, click here.

Alanna Byrne

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