The settlement is the result of an independent foreclosure review ordered by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in 2011. It required banks to hire independent auditors to go back over loans from 2009 and 2010 to look for foreclosure abuses, but the reviews were taking too long and costing too much. (Read More: Mortgage Recovery Still Rocky.)
"When we began the Independent Foreclosure Review, the OCC pledged to fix what was broken, identify who was harmed, and compensate them for that injury," said Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry in a written statement. "While today's announcement represents a significant change in direction, it meets those original objectives by ensuring that consumers are the ones who will benefit, and that they will benefit more quickly and in a more direct manner."
The banks, including Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, will make $3.5 billion in direct payments to borrowers and $5.2 billion in other assistance, such as loan modifications and forgiveness of deficiency judgments. Four other banks, EverBank, Ally, HSBC and One West, were involved in the talks but did not sign the deal. Together they service close to half a million loans. The OCC says conversations with them continue.
All 3.8 million borrowers, designated as those who were in any stage of foreclosure in 2009 or 2010, will receive something, regardless if they were wronged in any way, according to federal regulators. The loan servicers will divide borrowers into eleven different categories, and the regulators will designate a standard payment for each category.
Bank of America's share will be the largest at just under $3 billion in direct payments and borrower assistance. Bank of America took on the ills of Countrywide Financial.
"We support the new approach because it expands the number of borrowers who will receive payment, speeds the delivery of those payments, and will provide support for homeowners still struggling to make payments and encourages continued community stabilization efforts and recovery of the housing market," said Bank of America spokesman Dan Frahm.
This settlement follows a $25 billion deal last year with many of the same mortgage servicers and state attorneys general. So far that has resulted in nearly $22 billion in consumer relief and $4.2 billion pending to 300,000 borrowers through the end of September, roughly $84,385 per homeowner. (Read More: Forty States Sign On to Foreclosure 'Robo' Settlement.)