November 19, 2012

Settlement Success Story: Maria Marinakis

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The nation’s largest mortgage servicers have distributed $26.1 billion in direct relief to nearly 310,000 homeowners, or roughly $84,385 per homeowner as part of the National Mortgage Settlement, according to a progress report released today by independent settlement monitor Joseph A. Smith of the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight. See our press release today and read the full report and the Monitor’s state-by-state data map.

In February 2012, the Department of Justice, Department of Housing and Urban Development and 49 state attorney generals reached a landmark agreement with the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers to address mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure abuses and to provide relief to thousands of homeowners.

To read more details on the mortgage settlement or to find out where to get assistance visit National Mortgage Settlement.

Over the next several weeks we will be focusing on stories of homeowners who have benefitted from the settlement agreement. Today I would like to highlight the story of Maria Marinakis, a real homeowner from Las Vegas, Nevada.

Maria Marinakis

Maria Marinakis

Maria Marinakis’ story will probably sound familiar to many homeowners currently experiencing financial hardship. Maria is a responsible and hard working entrepreneur who heads her own business; a company called 10MinuteParenting. She purchased her home in 2009 for $246,000 with an FHA loan from Wells Fargo with monthly mortgage payments of around $1,778. She never missed a payment.

With the downturn in the economy, Maria’s once lucrative full-time contract work decreased. In 2009 her earnings were in the low six-figures; however, by 2012 Maria’s earnings had decreased to around $35,000 a year. Her mortgage payments, which she had made with ease, suddenly became an unmanageable burden. Equally significant, her home was also worth $70,000 less in 2012 than it was when she purchased it in 2009.

Unless Maria was able to refinance or get a principal reduction she was not going to be able to stay in her home. Seeking help, Maria heard about HOPENOW and attended a housing counseling event housing counselors were hosting near her home. There she met with a counselor who was able to get her both a principal reduction and allow her to refinance. Her mortgage, which was $246,000 in 2009, was reduced to around $174,000. Her new mortgage payments went from $1,778 per month to $1,220.

When interviewed for this article she was asked what was one piece of advice she would give to homeowners who are struggling to stay in their homes. “Please do not get discouraged” she said. “There is help out there for you if you keep trying. Show up completely prepared with every piece of paper work you think you might need and keep going!” Thanks in large part to the historic mortgage settlement agreement and the housing counselors at HOPENOW; Maria was given the assistance she needed to keep her home.


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