Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Tuesday that will distribute $200 million in mortgage relief and vowed the new law would hold banks accountable so homeowners are better shielded from foreclosure abuses.
“Banks will now be held accountable and Florida families will be protected with new protections for homeowners,’” Scott said while flanked by Attorney General Pam Bondi and state housing officials.
Yet as Scott signed SB 1852 into law, questions are emerging about whether the banks who signed the deal are complying with the agreement, the latest setback in a relief package already delayed by months of negotiations.
“I’ve had issues with the banks,” Bondi told reporters. “I was on the phone Friday or Saturday with (Shaun Donovan, the secretary of U.S. Department of Housing Development) telling him personal stories of people I’ve had contact with, who have had problems ... I’m telling him first-hand stories that I’m hearing with various banks.”
Attorneys general in North Carolina, Illinois and New York have said that the banks aren’t complying with the agreement. Bondi’s office said that it has received 293 complaints of possible violations of the agreement and is reviewing each one. But unlike attorneys general in other states, particularly New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Bondi stopped short of threatening more legal action.
Schneiderman has threatened to sue Wells Fargo and Bank of America because he’s concerned they are purposely delaying processing homeowner requests for lower mortgage payments.
“Eric Schneiderman can say he’ll sue all day long, but there’s a process that you go through first,” Bondi said. “There are stringent provisions under this settlement process, and we’re doing everything to hold the banks accountable.”