NEW YORK (New York Times) – Countrywide Financial, in an effort to resolve lawsuits against it, has launched the largest program ever to help struggling homeowners in Texas and ten other states.
The lender, recently acquired by Bank of America, will provide a total of $8.7 billion to borrowers, $8.4 billion of which will be through direct loan relief that will affect about 400,000 people. Countrywide will also waive $79 million in late fees and $56 million in prepayment penalties, and suspend foreclosures on delinquent borrowers with the riskiest loans.
A foreclosure relief fund will be created with $150 million from Countrywide to help borrowers who are four or more months behind on their payments or whose homes have already been foreclosed on. The company will also provide $70 million to help troubled borrowers relocate to rental housing.
Additionally, Countrywide will reduce principal balances in some cases and cut interest rates in others.
To qualify, the borrower’s first payment must have been due between Jan. 1, 2004, and Dec. 31, 2007. The loan balance must be at least 75 percent of the current value of the home, and the borrower must be able to afford the adjusted monthly payments.