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Mortgage relief possible after settlement with JPMorgan Chase

In a long-awaited announcement, representatives from the federal government have said that scores of Washington, D.C., homeowners could receive mortgage relief after a settlement was reached with JPMorgan Chase. The settlement, which tallied in at about $13 billion, is designed to resolve problems with the bank's involvement in mortgage-backed securities. About $4 billion has been set aside for consumer relief, which could actively benefit those who have faced foreclosure because of the bank's mistakes.

Government representatives say the bank was one of many financial institutions who knowingly sold unstable loans to unsuspecting investors. The settlement resolves the problem, though JPMorgan Chase has not admitted any liability in the scheme. The bank does admit, however, that its employees knowingly sold unfair mortgage bonds to buyers, signing off on documents that they knew violated compliance guidelines.

Officials say the scope of the punishment should give consumers some additional security; they can rely on the Justice Department to provide adequate mortgage fraud investigation to protect American buyers. Ongoing inquiries are still pending for many others who perpetuated mortgage issues and mortgage fraud on Wall Street, however.

Consumer advocates say that the measures are too little, too late, as millions of homeowners have already been through the entire foreclosure process and cannot directly benefit from the settlement. About 5.1 million Americans have gone through foreclosure since the housing crisis began in January 2007. The settlement is a positive step forward, but the delay was fatal to many buyers' pocketbooks, according to those consumer experts. Some homeowners may see their loans reduced, while others may be able to enjoy lower monthly payments, thanks to the benefits paid by the forbearance.

Victims of mortgage fraud may be eligible for financial relief through this settlement program. Those who are facing impending foreclosure may benefit from consulting a qualified bankruptcy attorney, who can help them learn about their available options in the wake of such an important legal ruling.

Source: www.mcclatchydc.com, "$13 billion JPMorgan Chase settlement may aid homeowners" Kevin G. Hall & Michael Doyle, Nov. 19, 2013

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