CALABASAS, Calif. (WAVY) - Bank of America is in the process of notifying hundreds of thousands of customers who may be eligible for mortgage forgiveness assistance.
The first batch of letters went out to potential candidates this week and the remainder will be mailed later this year, according to the company. The bank says there are more than 200,000 potentially eligible candidates for this assistance, which will forgive a portion of the principal balance on their mortgage.
It's part of a recent settlement among five major banks, 49 state attorneys general and the federal government. The bank estimates customers who qualify for the assistance will save an average of 30 percent on their mortgage payments.
The letters provide each homeowner with a description of the program and an invitation to provide financial information to begin the review process.
In many neighborhoods foreclosures are the norm, but for more than 200,000 Bank of America Customers, this relief could help. If you receive the letter from Bank of America, you could be eligible to reduce your monthly mortgage payments by an average of 35%.
"I think it's too little too late. They should have stepped up and offered assistance when people started getting in trouble instead of waiting until they're under water and so far behind that, you know, they can't do nothing else," says Robert Vorheen of Portsmouth.
Robert Vorheen speaks from experience. His home is now up for a short sale after a death in his family put him behind financially. He called the bank for help first, but, "They refused to help me and said they cannot help me because I'm not behind on my mortgage. So, I had to fall a month behind before they'd even talk to me."
Unfortunately for Vorheen, it's too late to qualify for the mortgage modification.
Those eligible must:
- Owes more on the mortgage than the property is worth today.
- Was at least 60 days behind on payments on January 31, 2012.
- Has a contractual monthly payment for principal, interest, property taxes, hazard insurance and any applicable homeowner association fees totaling more than 25 percent of gross household income.
- Has a loan that is owned and serviced by Bank of America, or serviced for another investor that has given the bank delegated authority to do such modifications.
"I'm one of them. I'm a little behind, so anything that can help out right now, I'm with it," says Fred McClain, visiting Portsmouth from Maryland.
McClain says he is certain he qualifies for the mortgage modification.
"I'm trying to get back on top so, anything they can do to help, I'm with it, so it's a good thing," says McClain.
He says he doesn't want to ever lose his home.
"If Bank of America, being one of the biggest banks, if they can reach out and help some of us people out here that are just a little bit behind or a lot behind, then it's a good thing," says McClain.
For further information on the settlement programs, Bank of America Home Loans customers may call 1.877.488.7814.
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