Over the past four years, Bruce Marks has been on a traveling road show to help people avoid foreclosure. His nonprofit, the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, has held more than 80 events in cities around the country. So far, Marks says, NACA has helped 202,000 people get their payments lowered so they can afford to keep their homes.
Bank of America is offering about 200,000 homeowners a chance to wipe out a big chunk of their mortgage debt. The offers are part of the settlement Bank of America and other major banks reached with state and federal regulators earlier this year, and it's one of the biggest principal forgiveness opportunities so far.
Earlier this month, a judge approved a settlement between five major banks and nearly all of the state attorneys general. The banks admitted to taking shortcuts — or "robo-signing" documents — as they pushed through some foreclosures.
Most of the $25 billion settlement is supposed to go toward reducing mortgage payments for some troubled homeowners. But lots of other programs have promised to help struggling homeowners in the past, and results have been disappointing.