A new settlement with one of the nation's largest lenders may provide you with some much needed help on your mortgage.
The $540 million SunTrust Mortgage agreed to pay last week in relief to distressed homeowners is the latest in a series of settlements authorities have reached with major banks over their role in the financial crisis since 2012. Is it too late to claim any of that money? Here’s what you need to know.
Who is eligible for a loan modification?
If you’re underwater, or struggling to make your payments, two lenders have relief funds remaining under their settlement agreements. Ocwen Financial agreed in December to spend $2 billion to slash mortgage balances for underwater homeowners. If you have an Ocwen loan, or one from subsidiaries Homeward Residential Holdings and Litton Loan Servicing, call Ocwen at 800-337-6695 or email ConsumerRelief@Ocwen.com.
SunTrust Mortgage will provide $500 million in relief to underwater homeowners. Call SunTrust (800-634-7928) or email through the SunTrustMortgage.com support page.
What if I’ve already lost my home?
Ocwen and SunTrust are paying $125 million and $40 million, respectively, to customers who already have lost their homes to foreclosure.
Eligible Ocwen customers lost their home between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2012; SunTrust borrowers lost their homes between Jan. 1, 2008 to Dec. 31, 2013. A settlement administrator will contact you, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If you have changed your contact information since your foreclosure, the CFPB advises you to update your information with your state attorney general.
I’m not a SunTrust or Ocwen customer. Can I get any help?
The five major banks that were part of the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement already have given away their settlement money. But you still may qualify for other assistance. Contact a credit counseling agency approved by the Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), says Melinda Opperman of Springboard Credit Management. (Find one near you at HUD’s official website.) Approved agencies, like Springboard, can put you in touch with relief programs in your area—their counseling is free.
CFPB’s press release on the SunTrust settlement.