Morgan Stanley has agreed to a multi-billion dollar settlement to end a federal investigation into its role in the collapse of the housing market. But what does that mean for homeowners still struggling to cope with the weight of unaffordable mortgages and abandoned properties in their communities? A lot, actually.
Thursday’s announcement by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that Morgan Stanley had agreed to a $3.2 billion settlement is expected to bring considerable relief to consumers across the state. Schneiderman called the agreement a “victory in our efforts to help New Yorkers rebuild in the wake of the financial devastation caused by major banks.”
Under the terms of the settlement, the bank has agreed to allocate $400 million toward programs to reduce loans, build affordable housing, overhaul code enforcement, expand land banks and purchase distressed properties so that they don’t get bought up by predatory lenders or, worse yet, scammers.
An independent monitor will be appointed to make sure the bank is following through on its promises, according to the settlement.
“We are pleased to have finalized these settlements involving legacy residential mortgage-backed securities matters,” Morgan Stanley said in a statement to The Washington Post.
Joseph Sant, the Center’s Director of Homeowner Services, said the programs that will be funded through the settlement are innovative. “They are pragmatic and deftly targeted solutions that will help New Yorkers who are still experiencing the aftershocks of the housing crash,” he said.
Morgan Stanley is only the latest big bank to settle for its role in the housing crisis. JPMorgan Chase and Citibank have already agreed to multi-billion dollar settlements.