Claims forms are now in the mail, on the way to more than 46,000 eligible borrowers. That word comes from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
The $25 billion dollar settlement was announced a few months ago. Eligible borrowers had mortgages serviced by Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.
Previously, CBS 6 reported Chesterfield mom Kristen Hurtado’s story. She was fighting to save her Hampton Park home after she said it was wrongfully foreclosed upon, and on the heels of her husband’s unexpected death.
Hurtado and her three children were ultimately forced to move. She’s one person listed to get a part of that settlement.
She said she had to sell everything in her home in order to afford the move.
“Then, I couldn’t find affordable housing in our area so I had to move out of state,” Hurtado said. “It disrupted our family and was emotionally unsettling.”
“I used all of my savings for something that I should not have had to do “Hurtado added.
Virginia Poverty Law Center Executive Director, Jay Speer said that many others who fill out the claim forms will only get a small piece of the settlement pie. He said 46,000 plus eligible Virginians are now receiving these forms.
They were mailed out from the Attorney General’s office this week.
Speer explained that the one page form will come with a cover letter from the Attorney General .
‘You just check one of the three boxes, sign it and mail it back,” Speer said. “It’s my understanding that they will even send you an envelope to mail it back.”
Individuals will have until January 18 to do it. There are also instructions included about how you fill out the form, frequently asked questions and a phone number to call if you have questions.
Hurtado said she plans to file the claim, but admitted that she’s disheartened by it all. Speer said that receiving this settlement doesn’t disqualify borrowers from pursuing legal action against their mortgage servicer.
“You are not waiving your right to do anything else, to take money from any other settlement or class action that might be out there or file suit on your own.,” he said.” There’s nothing on this form that says that.”
Now Hurtado and Speer are hopeful the settlement will force those mortgage servicers to do right by other borrowers in the future.
“I think the best part of the settlement isn’t necessarily the money but the fact that they are forcing servicers to do the right thing from here forward,” Speer said. “There are now new standards that they have to follow.”
“For example one of the worst things they were doing was someone in the same company would tell the borrower their loan was being modified, while another employee would tell them they were in foreclosure,” Speer said.
“That’s called dual tracking and they can’t do that anymore.”
Eligible borrowers in Virginia should fill out the claim form that’s mailed to them and return it before January 18, 2013. Payment checks are expected to be mailed in mid-2013.
Speer said one thing borrowers should note is that the process is completely free. He said people should be aware of scammers who might try to take advantage. There is no need to pay anyone to fill out the claim form, or pay anyone to get you a form.
If you have questions or need help filing the claim, you can contact the settlement administrator toll free at 1-866-430-8358. You can also ask questions via email at email@example.com.
If you believe someone is trying to pull a settlement related scam, you are urged to contact the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-552-9963.