For Immediate Release
May 29, 2013
Housing advocates question fairness in implementation of National Mortgage Settlement
Groups appeal to federal judge for fair lending data on homeowner relief
CLEVELAND, OH – Housing and consumer advocates have long questioned whether homeowner relief given under requirements of the National Mortgage Settlement is being given fairly to borrowers in communities hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis. This week groups voiced their concerns to the federal judge assigned to the case.
In a letter to U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer 17 groups including Americans for Financial Reform, Consumer Federation of America, Woodstock Institute, ESOP and others requested fair housing data on the implementation of the settlement.
"We are writing because we work with and are concerned about the communities and families who should be seeing improved processes, fairer mortgage servicing outcomes and compensation for illegally completed foreclosures as a result of the federal / state mortgage servicing settlement. We are deeply worried that the goals of the settlement are not being met fairly, and we urge you to require full public disclosure of the distribution of principal reduction and
other loan modification benefits under the settlement so that you, the signatory parties, and the public can evaluate the outcomes adequately." (Click here to read the full letter.)
Advocates are particularly concerned that servicer-defendants may not be complying with state and federal fair housing laws.
This is not the first time groups have voiced their concerns. In previous letters to NMS Monitor Joseph Smith housing advocates have made three basic requests:
1. Use the Monitor’s access to loan-level servicer data to show which neighborhoods are receiving homeowner relief under the settlement;
2. Aggressively, immediately, and regularly monitor fair lending concerns, and make that process transparent to the public; and
3. Fully audit fair lending compliance before relieving any of the servicers from their obligations under the settlement.
But so far neither the monitor nor the lenders have provided the information.
"We want to make sure the communities that were devastated by the crisis get their fair share of the relief mandated under the settlement," said Paul Bellamy, Director of Research and Development for Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People.