U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday that a $25 billion deal with banks is a “major step” toward reviving the troubled housing market, and turns the page on an era of “recklessness.”
Banks have agreed to cut the amount of money some homeowners owe, allow others to refinance their loans at lower interest rates, and compensate still other people who suffered wrongful foreclosures.
It took top federal and state legal officials 16 months of haggling with the five biggest banks to get the agreement. It resolves widespread civil complaints about the way lenders handled thousands of foreclosures growing out of the financial crisis.
The scandal erupted when it was learned that many companies that process foreclosures failed to verify documents, had employees sign many documents they had not read, or used fake signatures to speed foreclosures.
A foreclosed home tends to reduce the appeal and the price of neighboring homes, which is one of the reasons that this key part of the U.S. economy has been so slow to recover from the financial crisis.
The banks are: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and Ally Financial.