Bank of America’s Mortgage Writedown: Too Little, Too Late, and Too Confusing

24 Mar Bank of America’s Mortgage Writedown: Too Little, Too Late, and Too Confusing

Three years into the mortgage foreclosure crisis, a major lender has finally announced that it will reduce principal on “underwater” mortgages. Sort of.

According to The New York Times, BoA won’t actually write down loans to the value of the property (which is more than it would get in a foreclosure). Rather (and here’s where it gets confusing):

Bank of America executives said the program would work this way: A borrower owes $250,000 on a house now worth $200,000. Fifty thousand dollars of that balance would be moved into a special interest-free account.

As long as the owner continued to make payments on the $200,000, every year $10,000 in the special account would be forgiven until either the balance was zero or the housing market recovered and the borrower once again had positive equity.

The program would be available only to former Countrywide customers (Countrywide was acquired by BoA in 2008) and is by “invitation only.” It is unclear what the application process is or when this program will go into effect.

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Brett Weiss, a senior partner at Chung & Press, LLC, represents people and businesses in all phases of bankruptcy. He has experience in complex individual Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, and in Chapter 11 small business restructuring and reorganization. Mr. Weiss lectures nationally on bankruptcy issues. He has testified before the Federal Bankruptcy Rules Committee, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and has twice testified before Congress on bankruptcy and credit issues. Brett Weiss is the co-author of Chapter 11 for Individual Debtors, and has written Not Dead Yet: Bankruptcy After BAPCPA, for the Maryland Bar Journal, as well as hundreds of blogs for the Bankruptcy Law Network. With his law partner, he recorded a 13-hour basic bankruptcy training series, and leads intensive three-day Chapter 11 training boot camps. Mr. Weiss has received international media attention in connection with his work. He was interviewed by Barbara Walters on The View, has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, ABC News with Peter Jennings, the Montel Williams Show, National Public Radio, AARP-TV, the BBC World Service, German state television, and numerous local radio and television programs, and been quoted in Money magazine, The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun, among others. Brett Weiss is the Maryland State Chair for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, a founding member of the Bankruptcy Law Network, on the board of the Maryland State Bar Consumer Bankruptcy Council, and a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, the Bankruptcy Bar Association of Maryland, and the Civil Justice Network. He has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” every year since 2007 for Maryland and the District of Columbia, and in 2011 received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys for his work on behalf of consumers across the country. Mr. Weiss is admitted to practice before Maryland and District of Columbia federal and state courts, the United States Courts of Appeals for the DC, Fourth and Eighth Circuits, The United States Tax Court, and the Supreme Court of the United States, and has been practicing law since 1983.
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