Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne has released details of how the state will utilize $57 million in mortgage settlement funds, and most of it will be spent to keep struggling owners in their homes.
Most of the $107 Arizona was awarded is from a $25 billion settlement 49 other states agreed to earlier this year. It came from a lawsuit that targeted banks' improper lending practices. The settlement was with the nation's five largest banks, plus $10 million from a separate lawsuit against Bank of America.
Horne said about $41 million will be used to help keep people in their homes with homeowner recovery loans, principal reductions, and consumer restitution. The money will not be available, he said, for people who bought homes they could not afford or who otherwise made irresponsible investments.
Horne said the money will be for “people who bought responsibly, expected to make their payments, suffered an economic setback that wasn’t their fault, maybe got another job that pays less and can make payments but can’t make the full payments. Those are the kind of people we especially want to help."
An outside agency will be hired on contract to handle requests for assistance, Horne said, and the department is seeking bids for that.
There will also be funding for enforcement to ensure terms of the settlement are adhered to.
Other funds are earmarked for housing counseling, legal assistance and a communications plan designed to let eligible borrowers know what programs are available.