5 big US banks have cut mortgage debt by $19B

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Associated Press

Posted on February 21, 2013 at 9:04 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Five of the biggest U.S. banks have cut struggling homeowners' mortgage balances by $19 billion, part of a total $45.8 billion in relief provided under a landmark settlement over foreclosure abuses.

More than 550,000 borrowers received some form of mortgage relief between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2012, according to a report issued Thursday by Joseph Smith, the monitor of the settlement.

That translates to about $82,668 per homeowner, according to the report, which is based on the banks' own accounts of their progress.

The report says $19.5 billion of the $45.8 billion in relief was in the form of short sales, in which lenders agree to accept less than what the seller owes on the mortgage.

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