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Bank of America, the new owner of Countrywide Financial, has announced an $8.4 billion settlement under which homeowners in 11 states could see mortgage relief through lowered interest rates and reduced principals. The deal -- a response to lawsuits in which a number of states accused Countrywide of questionable home mortgage lending practices -- could provide relief to as many as 400,000 Countrywide mortgage holders.
The Nationwide Homeownership Retention Program for Countrywide Customers, announced Monday, will be put in place by December 1, 2008, and will offer $8.4 billion in loan adjustments to Countrywide mortgage holders in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Washington. Under the program, Countrywide mortgage servicers will undertake a "proactive loan modification process" for borrowers who are (or are likely to become) delinquent, including adjustment of total mortgage payments "targeted to equate to 34 percent of the borrower's income," and other loan modifications "to ensure annual principal and interest payments increase at levels with minimal risk of payment shock," according to a Countrywide Press Release.
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