Help is available for Washington residents who obtained problematic mortgages from Wachovia Bank and Golden West Corp., which did business as World Savings Bank. At least 400 Washington borrowers who received "Pick-A-Pay" payment option adjustable-rate mortgages will be eligible for loan modifications that will provide more than $29 million in mortgage relief, under a settlement with attorneys general from eight states. This sum includes nearly $12 million in principal forgiveness.
The agreement is the latest in a series of efforts by the attorneys general to help struggling homeowners. It also includes $1.6 million for a foreclosure relief fund to be paid to the Washington Attorney General’s Office.
The Washington Attorney General’s Office served on the executive committee that negotiated the agreement with Wells Fargo, which purchased Wachovia and acquired its subsidiary, Golden West, at the end of 2008. The states claimed that “Pick-A-Pay” loans offered by Wachovia and Golden West/World Savings Bank violated consumer protection laws because they expose borrowers to substantial economic risks that weren’t adequately disclosed.
“The relief offered by this agreement with Wells Fargo comes at a critical time for borrowers who are underwater and their neighbors, whose housing prices would be adversely affected by a foreclosure next door,” McKenna said.
Wells Fargo will offer modifications to qualified borrowers who are either 60 days delinquent or facing imminent default. Borrowers will first be considered for the federal Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Wells Fargo customers who originally took out mortgages through Wachovia or Golden West/World Savings Bank can call 1-888-565-1422 for more information about the program. For additional details, see today's news release and hear AG McKenna talk about the settlement in a news conference earlier today.