Bank of America to slash mortgage payments
The foreclosure prevention program is the most aggressive initiative undertaken yet to help stem the housing crisis.
By Les Christie, CNNMoney.com staff writer
A plan announced today by Bank of America will be the most aggressive foreclosure prevention effort ever undertaken by a U.S. bank.The program, scheduled to start in December, will be open to distressed borrowers who signed up with Countrywide Financial between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2007. Countrywide was acquired by Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) in July.
It came in a legal settlement that the company entered into with the attorney general offices of 11 states, who had sued Countrywide over predatory lending practices, but the company stated that borrowers in all 50 states will be eligible to participate in the program.
“The Countrywide settlement is a watershed moment for loan modification programs,” said Mark Pearce, North Carolina’s Deputy Commissioner of Banks and a member of the State Foreclosure Prevention Working Group. “This is, by far, the best [program ever], even better than the FDIC program with IndyMac Bank.”
As part of the initiative, Bank of America will cut monthly housing payments, including mortgage, property taxes and insurance, to no more than 34% of gross income. The move is expected to help keep as many as 400,000 troubled borrowers in their homes.