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McClatchy Newspapers via Miami Herald
By
Lindsay Wise and Kevin Hall

Almost 4 million homeowners might receive cash compensation and mortgage relief in a multi-billion-dollar settlement with 10 major banks, government regulators announced Monday. [...]

Consumer advocates welcomed the decision to replace the failed review process with a settlement that will return at least some cash to victims of unfair banking practices. But they said many problems remained. “The money is grossly inadequate for homeowners, and the program will require careful oversight to ensure that all homeowners harmed get a fair chance at benefits,” said Ed Mierzwinski, the consumer program director for U.S. PIRG, a nonprofit advocacy group. “Finally, of course, we need strong federal mortgage-servicing standards to protect all homeowners from the unfair and incompetent servicing and foreclosure practices that have driven many out of their minds due to lost, wrong or even illegally prepared paperwork and forced far too many more out of their homes,” Mierzwinski said.

[...] Details of how Monday’s settlement will work remain murky, said Kathleen Day, a spokeswoman for the Center for Responsible Lending, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Durham, N.C. Strong enforcement provisions are needed to ensure that the money and relief are allocated in the best and fairest way possible, Day said.

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