Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

March 5, 2014

What $4 Billion Does for Homeowners

By David Reiss

Enterprise released a Policy Focus on What the JPMorgan Chase Settlement Means for Consumers: An Analysis of the $4 Billion in Consumer Relief Obligations. It opens,

On November 19, 2013, JPMorgan Chase reached a record-setting settlement deal with the federal government’s Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities (RMBS) Working Group for $13 billion, which included $4 billion in consumer relief for struggling homeowners and hard-hit communities.

This brief examines how the $4 billion obligation will likely flow to consumers over the next four years. According to the settlement terms, eligible activities for which JPMorgan Chase will receive credit broadly include: loan modifications; rate reduction and refinancing; low- to moderate-income/disaster area lending; and anti-blight work. (1)

Enterprise projects that JPMorgan’s $4 Billion obligation will

translate into $4.65 billion in relief for existing homeowners, with an additional $15 million going to homebuyers, and as much as $380 million in cash and REO properties allocated to reducing foreclosure-related blight. Our analysis projects that over 26,500 borrowers will receive a total of $2.6 billion in principal forgiveness, which translates into $1.5 billion in credit toward the bank’s obligation. Forbearance will be extended on 17,000 loans, and slightly more than 7,000 second liens will be fully or partially forgiven. In addition to forgiveness or forbearance, we anticipate the interest rates on approximately 26,500 loans will be reduced, resulting in a real borrower savings of $1.4 billion. (1)

We’re talking about some pretty big numbers here, so it might be useful to break them down on a per borrower basis.

  • 26,500 loans will receive interest rate reductions resulting in $1.4 billion in consumer benefit, or $52,830 per loan.
  • 26,500 borrowers will receive $2.6 billion in principal forgiveness, or $98,113 per homeowner.

The report, unfortunately, does not parse these big numbers out so well. For instance, do they reflect savings over the expected life of the loans or over the remaining term? We also do not know whether these changes, large as they are, will leave sustainable loans in their place. So, this is a report provides a useful starting point, but some very big questions about the settlement still remain to be answered.

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