Countrywide Financial to Pay $6.6 Million to 3,674 Michigan Borrowers Contact:
John Sellek or Matt Frendewey 517-373-8060
Countrywide Financial to Pay $6.6 Million to 3,674 Michigan Borrowers
Eligible Borrowers to be Contacted by Mail
LANSING - Attorney General Mike Cox today announced that 3,674 Michigan consumers will begin to be notified they are eligible for a share of $6.6 million in restitution from Countrywide Financial. The funds are part of a settlement the Attorney General negotiated as a result of questionable lending practices exercised by employees of Countrywide, including predatory lending.
"Countrywide took advantage of families trying to achieve the American dream," said Cox. "Through this settlement, families across Michigan will receive a helping hand."
Today's announcement is part of a $138 million settlement the Attorney General negotiated with Countrywide Financial in October 2008. The settlement includes:
- $6.6 million paid directly to 3,674 individuals who lost their homes.
- $129 million for the refinancing of as many as 9,700 Michigan mortgages.
- $3.2 million for foreclosure forums and financial support for non-profits, charities, and cities fighting foreclosures.
- Provisions to allow the Attorney General's office additional oversight to monitor Countrywide's activities.
- Prohibitions on Countrywide selling sub-prime and option ARM mortgages in Michigan for two years.
In order to be eligible for the settlement, borrowers had to receive a Countrywide Financial loan between January 2004 and December 2007. The borrower's home had to be foreclosed on between January 2004 and December 2008. Those eligible received sub-prime loans or pay option loans (e.g. adjustable rate mortgages) and later lost their homes. Eligible borrowers will receive a letter from the Attorney General, claim forms, and postage-paid return envelopes.
Each eligible borrower will receive a minimum payment of $1,818.83, though the payment could increase based on the number of individuals that choose to participate in the settlement.
Eligible borrowers have until October 22, 2009 to return the claim form to Countrywide Financial's settlement administrator. It is expected that the eligible borrowers will receive payment from Countrywide in early 2010.
Borrowers with questions should contact the Countrywide Financial settlement coordinator by calling toll-free 866-411-6987 or by visiting http://www.countrywidesettlementinfo.com.
The Attorney General's office encourages eligible consumers to read the claim form carefully and reply as soon as possible.
Attorney General Cox has made fighting mortgage crimes a priority throughout his administration. In 2007, Cox announced a settlement with Ameriquest Mortgage Company as result of their predatory lending practices. The Ameriquest settlement provided 18,400 Michigan consumers with $13.8 million in restitution. In 2008, Cox created a mortgage fraud unit and teamed up with the Michigan State Police and other law enforcement agencies to tackle the problem. In the last six months alone, Cox has charged 13 individuals and 4 corporations with mortgage fraud-related offenses. Cox's office has also held seven mortgage foreclosure forums to help families stay in their homes during these difficult times.
Homeowners facing foreclosure should visit www.michigan.gov/agand click on the "Avoid Foreclosure Info" button.