Banking

NC residents to start filing claims for SunTrust settlement

More than 2,200 North Carolina residents should start receiving forms in the mail this week to file claims for cash payments as part of a settlement announced last year with Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks, Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office said Tuesday.
More than 2,200 North Carolina residents should start receiving forms in the mail this week to file claims for cash payments as part of a settlement announced last year with Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks, Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office said Tuesday. rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

More than 2,200 North Carolinians due to receive about $2 million in cash payments from a settlement with SunTrust Banks should start receiving claim forms in the mail this week, Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office said Tuesday.

A total of 2,286 North Carolinians who lost their homes to foreclosure are eligible for the direct cash payments as part of a nearly $1 billion mortgage and foreclosure accord announced in June with various states and federal agencies. The payments will likely total about $850 per borrower, depending upon how many eligible people submit claims, according to Cooper’s office.

The accord, involving a consortium of state attorneys general and the federal government, resolved claims against SunTrust over abusive practices in foreclosing and mortgage origination and servicing.

Under the deal, the Atlanta-based lender became part of the National Mortgage Settlement, a pact reached with Bank of America, Wells Fargo and three other large mortgage servicers in 2012 to settle claims of loan servicing and foreclosure abuses.

In reaching the nearly $1 billion deal, SunTrust admitted, among other things, that it originated and underwrote federally insured mortgages that did not meet federal requirements.

In North Carolina, the $2 million in cash payments is in addition to roughly $21.5 million in loan modifications or other relief SunTrust is required to provide homeowners in the state, Cooper’s office said.

Nationwide, borrowers and homeowners are expected to receive a total of $40 million in direct cash payments under the settlement. According to Cooper’s office, more than 45,000 consumers nationwide are expected to get such payments.

The payment checks are expected to be mailed in the fall, according to Cooper’s office. The deadline to submit claims is June 4.

“Foreclosures hurt our families, neighborhoods and communities,” Cooper said in a statement. “This settlement gives people who lost their homes to wrongful foreclosures an opportunity to get some money back.”

SunTrust spokesman Hugh Suhr declined to comment.

The federal and state agreement requires SunTrust to pay $968 million in fines and consumer relief.

It also requires SunTrust to implement new servicing standards. SunTrust’s compliance with the agreement is being overseen by former N.C. Banking Commissioner Joseph Smith, who also oversees mortgage servicers’ compliance with the National Mortgage Settlement.

SunTrust is the sixth-largest bank in the Charlotte area by deposits.

Roberts: 704-358-5248;

Twitter: @DeonERoberts

Who’s eligible?

According to N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office, consumers may be eligible for cash payments as part of the SunTrust settlement based on the following criteria:

▪ They were foreclosed on between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2013.

▪ Their mortgage was serviced by SunTrust at the time of foreclosure.

▪ They made at least three payments on the loan.

▪ They either lived in the home or intended to live in the home at the time they took out the mortgage.

▪ The mortgage was for a property with at least one and no more than four residential units.

▪ The unpaid principal of their first mortgage was within certain limits.

Consumers who have questions or need help filing their claim can call 1-866-590-8532 or email settlementadministrator@nationalSunTrustsettlement.com.

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