Did Banks Get Off Easy in $8.5B Mortgage Settlement?

Homeowner: 'What's $1K going to do for me?'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2013 7:12 AM CST
Did Banks Get Off Easy in $8.5B Mortgage Settlement?
This July 28, 2012, file photo, shows a JPMorgan Chase office.   (AP Photo/dapd,Timur Emek)

Sure, plenty of people—3.8 million, in fact—will benefit from yesterday's $8.5 billion mortgage settlement with banks. But some consumer advocates say the banks themselves have made out the best on the deal, the AP reports. They argue that the institutions are getting away with a smaller-than-expected price tag, while some homeowners feel they're getting little assistance. "Let's say they already foreclosed on me and I lost my home," says one. "What's $1,000 going to do to help me?"

The deal also shuts down an independent review of loans, which lets banks off the hook without a full probe, says an advocate. "The question of who's to blame—the homeowners or the lenders—if you stop this investigation now, that will always be an open-ended question." Still, the dust hasn't settled on the mortgage crisis: The settlement only addresses those in foreclosure in 2009 and 2010, and some banks aren't taking part. "It's going to take a few more years to get it sorted out," says a banking consultant. (More big banks stories.)

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