SunTrust May Owe Mortgage Holders

Commercial

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Homeowners in New Mexico who send their house payments to SunTrust Mortgage, plus an additional 230 who lost their homes in foreclosure, could benefit financially from a settlement announced last year with the Atlanta-based mortgage-servicing company.

“Current SunTrust customers may be eligible for loan modifications, refinance opportunities and principal reductions,” Attorney General Hector Balderas said in an announcement released Friday. “In addition, over 200 New Mexico homeowners who lost their homes to foreclosure from Jan. 1, 2008, to Dec. 31, 2013, may be eligible for direct monetary payments.”

The names and addresses of the 230 former homeowners are on file with Rust Consulting Inc., a third-party administrator of the claims against SunTrust. Rust will be attempting to contact those former Sun-Trust mortgage customers, so they should be on the lookout for notices from Faribault, Minn.-based Rust.

Since the contact information may be out of date, households that lost their homes in foreclosure to SunTrust are encouraged to contact the AG’s Office at 505-222-9038.

The 230 former homeowners are among about 48,000 nationwide who are eligible for direct payments from a $40 million pot of restitution money, said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Owens, manager of the office’s homeownership preservation program. The amount of the payments will depend on the number of claims filed.

The restitution money is part of a much larger settlement announced in July 2014 by the U.S. Department of Justice. Parties to the settlement also included the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and attorneys general in 49 states including New Mexico.

SunTrust is also required to set aside $500 million for relief to homeowners with underwater mortgages, meaning they currently owe more on their houses than the houses are worth. The relief could come as a writeoff of the principal amount, a mortgage refinance or mortgage modification.

Owens said any SunTrust customers in New Mexico– especially those struggling to make their mortgage payments — should contact the AG’s office to explore whether they might be eligible for relief.

SunTrust is not believed to have done any direct mortgage lending in New Mexico, thus it only services loans held by other lenders, Owens said. There’s no estimate of how many home mortgages are serviced by SunTrust in the state.

“It’s a fairly small footprint,” Owens said. “They are more of a regional servicer in the Eastern states.”

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