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SHAHEEN CALLS ON BANK OF AMERICA TO IMPROVE SERVICE TO HOMEOWNERS

October 2, 2012

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) called on Bank of America to improve their service and communication with homeowners receiving relief under the National Mortgage Settlement in a letter sent to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan this week. Shaheen stressed that a large number of New Hampshire homeowners have voiced their frustrations that Bank of America has been unwilling or unable to effectively communicate essential information.

“The National Mortgage Settlement has the potential to be a powerful tool to reestablish the integrity of America’s home mortgage system and to restore the public’s faith in it,” Shaheen wrote in the letter. “I am sure you would agree that to achieve this potential, it is critical for Bank of America to take further action to ensure that the company provides timely, reliable and useful information.”

The National Mortgage Settlement is a joint settlement between the federal government, 49 state Attorneys General and the country’s five largest loan servicers, including Bank of America, to provide relief to homeowners after authorities found that false or inaccurate documents were used in foreclosure proceedings. The agreement requires the banks to provide a total of $20 billion in debt relief to eligible borrowers over three years and immediately pay an additional $5 billion to the states and federal government.

In the past year, Shaheen’s office has worked with over 100 New Hampshire homeowners who have struggled to obtain answers from Bank of America as they attempt to avoid foreclosure.

The full text of Shaheen’s letter is below:

October 1, 2012

Mr. Brian T. Moynihan

Chief Executive Officer

Bank of America Corp.

100 North Tryon Street

Charlotte, NC 28255

Dear Mr. Moynihan:

I write to express my concern regarding Bank of America’s implementation of the terms of the National Mortgage Settlement.  I urge you to work closely with state attorneys general, the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight (OMSO) and housing counselors to ensure that qualified borrowers receive the assistance they deserve.

The National Mortgage Settlement has the potential to be a powerful tool to reestablish the integrity of America’s home mortgage system and to restore the public’s faith in it.  I am sure you would agree that to achieve this potential, it is critical for Bank of America to take further action to ensure that the company provides timely, reliable and useful information regarding the settlement to consumers, the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight and the state law enforcement officials party to the agreement.

To that end, you should be aware that the New Hampshire Department of Justice (NH DOJ) and many distressed New Hampshire homeowners report that they have been continually frustrated by Bank of America’s unwillingness or inability to effectively communicate even basic information regarding a borrower’s eligibility for relief. 

In the last year, my office alone has worked with over 100 New Hampshire homeowners who have struggled to obtain answers from your company as they attempt to avoid foreclosure.  In one instance, an elderly couple has tried to work with Bank of America for over two years to modify their mortgage and stay in the home they’ve owned for 40 years; they have yet to receive a definitive response from your company.  Bank of America’s lack of an effective system to convey essential information to struggling homeowners, demonstrated by the experiences of those like this couple, is unacceptable and I encourage you to act without delay to remedy this failure. 

The National Mortgage Settlement is one of the largest multistate agreements in American history and I recognize the inherently significant challenges of implementing such a complicated relief program.  Nevertheless, Bank of America has an obligation under the agreement to swiftly provide relief to the homeowners that were harmed by its unlawful foreclosure practices.  Thank you for your attention to this critical matter.

Sincerely,

Jeanne Shaheen

United States Senate

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