Baltimore – The landmark foreclosure settlement between the state and the nation’s five largest lenders is expected to bring significant new resources for foreclosure prevention counseling, Secretary Skinner said Tuesday during the annual conference of Maryland housing counselors.
“We know that counseling works,” Secretary Skinner said, as he delivered opening remarks at Counselor Connection 2012, hosted by the Maryland Housing Counselors Network, Inc. “We know, too, that failure to support and sustain counseling will result in fewer homeowners achieving successful foreclosure alternatives and more homeowners turning to scams.’”
The settlement between Maryland and Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citi, JP Morgan Chase and AllyBank/GMAC will bring nearly $1 billion to the state, including $59.6 million to be used for housing initiatives such as foreclosure prevention counseling.
Attorney General Douglas Gansler has established a work group, including DHCD staff, to solicit input on how best to use those resources. In addition, the attorney general’s office will be conducting workshops across the state this summer to help homeowners, housing counselors and the public understand the terms of the settlement and what to expect. The next such workshop will be in Prince George’s County on May 19. There will be three in Baltimore, beginning with a workshop with Seventh District Congressman Elijah Cummings on June 16.
On May 4, the attorney general’s office noted that Wells Fargo had begun alerting borrowers to the possibility that they may be eligible for an interest rate reduction on their mortgage under the settlement and he urged homeowners to open those letters and read them carefully. The other four lenders are expected to send similar notices to their customers soon.