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Iowans get $19.2 million in relief in national mortgage settlement

Rod Boshart, CR Gazette –

DES MOINES – A total of 579 Iowa homeowners have received more than $19.2 million in relief from the nation’s largest mortgage services as part of a $25 billion national settlement announced earlier this year, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said Monday.

And Miller predicted Iowa’s overall share of the settlement will exceed the $40 million previously estimated. He noted the $19.2 million figure already surpassed the $17.5 million in direct relief that was estimated for Iowa homeowners when the settlement was first announced. Another $7.5 million is expected to be paid to Iowa borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2011, and their loans were handled by one of the settling services.

“I’m elated that we’re seeing real results here in Iowa, and the homeowner relief is coming at a very rapid pace,” Miller told an afternoon news conference.

The average relief in Iowa has been nearly $33,200 per borrower, he noted. The mortgage services reported offering about $3.1 million in principal reductions that 87 Iowa homeowners had accepted and 46 Iowa homeowners received a total of $1,553,991 in principal reductions for an average of $33,782 per borrower, he added.

Iowa already has received a direct payment of more than $17 million, which he said is helping fund the Iowa Mortgage Help hotline (1-877-622-4866), housing counseling services, Iowa legal aid, and enforcement, implementation and monitoring activities.

Miller called early figures provided by the settlement monitor “really promising.”

Nationally, the report found that more than 300,000 homeowners benefited from some type of settlement-related relief, which topped $26 billion. On average, the relief averaged more than $84,000 per borrower. Miller said the figure more than doubled Iowa’s average because other states have more severe mortgage “bubbles” when the housing crisis hit in 2007 and many of the affected homes were in locations with higher home values than what prices run in Iowa.

“This is great for homeowners and it’s excellent news for Iowa’s housing market,” said Miller, who was the lead state attorney in the joint state-federal investigation and landmark mortgage settlement case. “Every home we can save through this settlement means one less foreclosure in our neighborhoods, and that’s a win for everyone.”

The full report can be found at www.mortgageoversight.com/reports and information about the national mortgage settlement is available at www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com.

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