By TOM CALLIS
Tribune-Herald staff writer
A deadline is nearing for Hawaii residents who lost their homes to foreclosure to benefit from a settlement between the state and five large banks.
Home owners foreclosed on between Jan. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2011 have until Jan. 18 to receive a payment intended to help them get back on their feet.
Residents are eligible for the payments, typically about $2,500, if they were foreclosed on by the banks while facing financial hardship, had problems receiving a loan modification, or faced bank errors. The banks are Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, CitiGroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.
The money comes from a nationwide settlement that Hawaii participated in following the foreclosure crisis.
As part of the settlement reached last February, the banks were required to make the payments to home owners who were “improperly” foreclosed on during that period as well as provide other forms of mortgage relief.
That relief includes loan modifications for homes that are currently underwater, meaning they are worth less than the mortgage.
The banks have to provide mortgage relief for five years, beginning when the settlement was reached.
As of Nov. 19, the banks had provided Hawaii homeowners with $94 million in aid.
The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs has launched a website, HFIC.Hawaii.gov, to provide information on the settlement, including eligibility requirements and how to file a claim.
The department is also warning residents to be aware of mortgage rescue fraud.
Scammers have attempted to take advantage of the settlement by offering to help distressed home owners apply while charging large, upfront fees.
“These people have no conscience,” said Office of Consumer Protection Executive Director Bruce Kim in a press release.
“They deliberately target homeowners who are worried about losing their homes and give them a message of hope while they plot and scheme to take their money.”
Victims of fraud can contact OCP at 587-2222.
Email Tom Callis at firstname.lastname@example.org.