While the five giant mortgage firms signed a landmark $25 billion mortgage settlement last year, the real relief did not fulfill most borrowers expectations. Just 20% of the aid dished out under the settlement covered forgiveness of first-mortgage principal. Per the Los Angeles Times:
“We all wish there had been more principal reduction, which is what is most helpful in keeping people in homes,” said Kevin Stein, associate director of the California Reinvestment Coalition, a 300-member alliance that lobbies on behalf of low-income and minority neighborhoods.
Still, Stein said, the program set a good precedent, demonstrating that debt forgiveness can benefit lenders and borrowers alike without causing a wave of intentional defaults, as critics had warned.