AG Wasden in negotiations with Countrywide

Chris Rizo Oct. 9, 2008, 3:00pm

Lawrence Wasden (R)

BOISE, Idaho (Legal Newsline)-Struggling homebuyers with subprime mortgages in Idaho could see relief under a multi-state settlement aimed at helping thousands of Americans avoid foreclosure.

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said Thursday he is in preliminary negotiations with Countrywide Financial Corp. to participate in an $8.4 billion agreement hammered out by Attorneys General Jerry Brown of California and Lisa Madigan of Illinois.

"Hopefully, we will be able to join this settlement and it will assist Idahoans who, in difficult economic times, face possible foreclosure or who already have suffered a foreclosure on their homes," Wasden said in a statement.

Under the multi-state agreement between 11 states and Bank of America, parent company of Countywide, the lender has agreed to provide $8.68 billion in direct loan relief to settle claims Countrywide engaged in predatory lending practices.

The agreement also eliminates late fees and penalties for some customers.

Calabasas, Calif.-based Countrywide was accused of misrepresenting loan terms and borrowers' ability to afford loans.

The settlement will also allow eligible subprime and pay-option mortgage borrowers in states apart of the agreement to obtain a modified and more affordable loan.

In settling the case, Countrywide has not admitted to any wrongdoing. Borrowers whose first payment was due between Jan. 1, 2004, and Dec. 31, 2007, can participate in the settlement. The program will begin Dec. 1.

Participating in the multi-state settlement announced Monday were attorneys general in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Washington.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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