Thu August 30, 2012
Mortgage Settlement Monitor Issues First Report
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Let's follow up on another story. Earlier this year, five big banks settled the so-called robo-signing case, admitting they rushed the foreclosure processes for thousands of homeowners. Now, those banks are working to forgive and modify $20 billion worth of home loans.
As NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, yesterday was the first chance to look at how banks are handling this part of the settlement.
YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: Joseph Smith's first full report wasn't due until November, but he was eager to keep the issue top of mind.
JOSEPH SMITH: I hope that this report and the reports that follow, will inform a public debate around the mortgage issue that will lead to an improvement of that market and to better results for consumers in our economy.
NOGUCHI: Smith is the appointed monitor of the settlement agreement. And in the first three months, he said banks self-reported issuing $10.6 billion worth of consumer relief, including refinancings, and principal loan forgiveness.
Banks earn credits toward their total settlement amount, and not all relief counts dollar for dollar. So the $10 billion does not mean banks are half way to their goal. But, Smith says...
SMITH: This is a first step, and I'm encouraged by it.
NOGUCHI: Bank of America must pay the biggest share of the settlement. But the report showed the bank had not completed any refinancings or principal-reduction modifications.
But Dan Frahm, a spokesman for the bank, says the bank has made a lot of progress since the end of June.
DAN FRAHM: And we do feel that within the first year of the program, we will reach or exceed all program targets under the agreement.
NOGUCHI: The banks have three years to meet their targets.
Yuki Noguchi, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.