Banks to dole out compensation to homeowners

David Gura Feb 9, 2012

David Brancaccio:The way the states see it, banks played fast and loose in processing the wave of foreclosures that hit when the housing bubble burst. Today, federal officials confirmed the remedy: a $25 billion settlement between the five largest banks in the land and every state except Oklahoma.

Marketplace’s David Gura has the latest from Washington.


David Gura: Four million Americans have been through foreclosure since 2007, and for a fraction of them — for 750,000 victims of foreclosure fraud — today’s announcement is good news.

Anthony Sanders teaches real estate finance at George Mason University.

Anthony Sanders: They’re going to receive a check.

For about $1,800. It’s compensation from the banks for being sloppy during the foreclosure process.  David Reiss is a professor at Brooklyn Law School. He says that’s really just a drop in the bucket.

David Reiss: It seems like small recompense for what happened.

Bank analyst Bert Ely agrees:

Bert Ely: I mean, maybe that covered the cost of their moving expenses.

You see, according to Ely, today’s settlement only deals with part of the housing crisis.

Ely: It doesn’t begin to address the underlying causes of the sub-prime lending and the housing bubble that came along a couple of years ago, and has now burst with very painful consequences.

The deal does try to prevent more damage. About a million homeowners who weren’t foreclosed on will be able to get better terms on their mortgages. Some of them, who have homes that are underwater — homes that are worth less than their original mortgages, could get a break to save them money.

Anthony Sanders, at George Mason University, says today’s settlement doesn’t mark the end of this mortgage mess.  

Sanders: Very simply, this is going to go on and on and on.  It’s a political issue.

The settlement doesn’t rule out future lawsuits, and the states’ attorneys general say they plan to go after more banks soon.

In Washington, I’m David Gura, for Marketplace.

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