FORT MYERS, Fla. - Millions of foreclosure cases across the country are about to get a second look, and it could result in banks writing a check to homeowners.
It's meant as a remedy for as many as four million potentially faulty foreclosures. The government is ordering 14 of the country's largest lenders to submit those cases for a free, independent review, and to pay back homeowners who suffered financial injury.
"They brought it upon themselves, sloppy paperwork, massive foreclosures, foreclosure mills," said Fort Myers real estate attorney Kevin Jursinski.
Jursinski's firm has handled hundreds of foreclosure cases where mistakes were made.
"Many are suspect because of the robo-signing and the documentation," Jursinski said. "There's going to be a lot of people that are going to take advantage of that review to see if they were hurt, because everyone wants that second do-over."
"Unfortunately the homeowners are generally the people that get the short end of the stick," said Nicole DePuy, who's story is an example of the problems with the process.
WINK News first met her last year, after a two year battle with her bank left her foreclosed and frustrated.
"The main problem was just communication," DePuy said. "There wasn't communication between the banks themselves. Communication with me and the bank and the mortgage companies."
A loan modification came too late, and her home was sold out from under her.
"It's kind of David versus Goliath thing, you feel like such a little fish in a big pond when dealing with the banks," Depuy said.
Jursinski says reviewing potentially millions of cases will be time-consuming, and the amount of compensation for borrowers-- if any-- isn't clear.
"You thought we were out of it? We're just starting over again," Jursinski said. "It's going to be four million stories coming up."
The program covers foreclosure cases in 2009 and 2010. Eligible borrowers will receive a form in the mail that needs to be returned by next April.
Most importantly-- the review is free. The program warns to beware of anyone who asks you to pay for it.
For more information about the program, visit the Officer of the Comptroller of the Currency, a division of the U.S. Treasury Department.