In addition to the Homeowners’ Assistance Program (HAP), other options may be available to aid military service members who rights were violated by mortgage servicers or who are experiencing financial difficulties due to the mortgage crisis.
Department of Justice (DoJ) National Mortgage Settlement
On February 9, 2012, the Attorney General announced that the federal government and 49 states had reached a settlement agreement with the nation’s five largest mortgage services to address mortgage servicing, foreclosure, and bankruptcy abuses. On April 5, 2012, the settlement was approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The settlement covers home mortgages serviced by Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Ally financial Inc./GMAC, and Wells Fargo & Company. Under the settlement, service members who rights were violated under the Service member Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and homeowners in bankruptcy may be eligible for relief. More details can be found at: www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com.
- Any military service member who believes his or her rights were violated by Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Ally financial Inc./GMAC, and Wells Fargo & Company can contact the DoJ directly at 1-800-896-7743 or consult the DoJ U.S. Trustee Program website at http://www.justice.gov/ust/eo/public_affairs/consumer_info/nms/docs/341_One_Pager.pdf.
- Military service members and their dependents who believe that their SCRA rights were violated should contact the nearest Armed Forces Legal Assistance office. For the relevant contact information, please consult the military legal assistance office locator at: http://legalassistance.law.af.mil/content/locator.php.
Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Short Sale Assistance for Military Homeowners with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Loans
On June 21, 2012, the FHFA Acting Director announced changes to short sale policies making it easier for military service members with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac home loans to honor their financial commitments when they are issued PCS orders. Under the new short sale policy, military service members who receive PCS orders will be eligible to sell their homes in a short sale even if they are current on their mortgage. Also, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will not pursue a deficiency judgment or any cash contribution or promissory note from military service members who had purchased their property on or before June 30, 2012 and received PCS orders. Military service members must have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan to be eligible for favorable treatment under the new short sale policy. More details on FHFA’s announcement can be viewed at http://www.fhfa.gov/webfiles/24026/CFPBFinalwFS.pdf.
- Any military service member who desires to determine if their home loan is held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac may call military homeowners’ hotlines at 1-800-7FANNIE or 1-800-FREDDIE (8 am to 8 pm EST) or check Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s websites at http://www.fanniemae.com/loanlookup and https://www.freddiemac.com/corporate.
- Additional information for military service members struggling with their mortgage payment can be obtained by calling 1-877-MIL-4566 and 1-800-FREDDIE or by checking Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s websites: http://www.knowyouroptions.com/Military and http://www.freddiemac.com/avoidforeclosure.
Making Home Affordable
The Departments of Treasury and Housing and Urban Development offer the program Making Home Affordable. The program offers assistance specific to military homeowners. Information on this program can be found at www.makinghomeaffordable.gov.