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Conway to Kentuckians: Mortgage relief is available

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway is trying to get a message to thousands of homeowners who might be eligible for help with their mortgage.

Conway has begun a public service campaign to alert people before a Jan. 18 deadline to apply for money from the $25 billion national mortgage foreclosure settlement reached last spring.

Kentucky received almost $59 million and has millions to distribute, he said.

Homeowners who received mortgages from Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi or Ally/GMAC from Jan. 1, 2008, to Dec. 31, 2011, are eligible for financial assistance.

The nation's largest banks reached the settlement with 49 states to redress improper mortgage banking practices, including "robo-signing" documents with forged signatures and not keeping track of which bank held specific mortgages.

Conway said Kentucky homeowners who were foreclosed on could get $2,000 without conceding legal rights to pursue other remedies.

Those who own homes now worth less than their mortgage could get refinancing at a lower interest rate or could get write-downs to cover the difference and get their loans back above water.

Some of the settlement is being used as legal aid for homeowners. The Kentucky Housing Corp. also has received money, and cities have been given money to deal with abandoned properties and reduce urban blight.

As many as 5,000 Kentuckians are thought to be eligible for settlement money because they were wrongfully foreclosed on, Conway said. Tens of thousands more might be eligible for write-downs, he said.

Conway was among a group of about 16 attorneys general, including Beau Biden of Delaware, who pressured banks to settle with the main AG executive bargaining committee to get relief before five-year statues of limitation reduced the prospect of other legal remedies related to the 2008 economic meltdown stemming from the mortgage crisis.

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