LAS VEGAS -- President Obama held an hour-long news conference Tuesday morning to outline his latest plans to help underwater and foreclosed homeowners.
"This Congress should pass my proposal to give every responsible homeowner a chance to save an average of $3,000 a year by refinancing their mortgage at historically low rates. No red tape. No run-around from the banks," he said.
The new programs focus on military families and homeowners with FHA loans. The federal housing secretary says that affects more than 30,000 Nevadans. Some of the president's proposals can be done without the approval of Congress.
The announcement is part of the nationwide mortgage settlement announced last month. The major push announced Tuesday may help families at Nellis Air Force Base.
"What we can tell those service members who think they've been wrongly foreclosed on now is they will not only get full restitution for their losses, with interest, but they're also getting a payment of $117,000," said U.S. Federal Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan.
Every foreclosure since 2006 involving a service member's family will now be reviewed by the federal justice department. If it's found that lending banks didn't take all the right steps in court with the foreclosure, then those military families may be getting a payout.
Even though Nevada is a state where foreclosures mostly don't go through the court system, service member families receive extra protections from federal law according to the housing secretary. He also highlighted the fact that re-deployed service members faced so many short sale delays, they sometimes moved away from their families.
"The last thing we should do is be asking our service members who are willing to risk everything for their country to go serve overseas, or to move to another base and leave their family behind. That's just wrong," he said.
Last fall, families at Nellis AFB told 8 News NOW they didn't know when they may be ordered to move to a different base and face enormous losses when selling their homes.
Now, service members who were redeployed may be compensated for some of the loss in their home's value. Secretary Donovan also adds that an estimated 30,000 Nevadans who have Federal Housing Administration loans now get a major cut in fees. The housing secretary said they believe refinancing fees were preventing many families from affording refinancing.
· Any Service member who believes his or her rights were violated by Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Ally, Citi, or Wells Fargo can contact the Justice Department directly at 1-800-896-7743. The Department will have access to information to determine whether or not service members are victims and the settlement requires those individuals to be contacted.
· Service members and their dependents who believe that their SCRA rights have been violated should contact the nearest Armed Forces Legal Assistance office. For the relevant contact information, please consult the military legal assistance office locator at http://legalassistance.law.af.mil and click on the Legal Services Locator.
· Additional information about the Justice Department's enforcement of the SCRA and the other laws protecting service members is available at www.servicemembers.gov.