Mortgage Mess Settlement Means $3B for Homeowners

Morning Money Memo:

The impact of the mortgage mess keeps rumbling through the economy, nearly seven years after the crisis began. A new report says homeowners have received about $3.1 billion in cash as part of a federal settlement with 13 big banks. The deal came after allegations of misconduct in processing mortgages that may have resulted in wrongful foreclosures. The Federal Reserve says about 83 percent of 4.2 million borrowers covered in the settlement cashed checks by the last week of April. The amounts paid range from several hundred dollars to $125,000. The 13 banks include Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs. The total $9.3 billion settlement called for $3.6 billion in cash payments and $5.7 billion in aid such as reduced mortgage loans.

Cable cord-cutting is a fact of life for growing numbers of Americans seeking to reduce their monthly entertainment bills. The number of people with high-speed Internet who don't have cable or satellite TV rose from just over 5 million in 2010 to more than 7.5 million in 2013, according to Experian Marketing Services. "What consumers really are asking for is they want content on their own terms," says Albert Lai, chief technology officer of media at Brightcove, a provider of cloud computing solutions. "Consumers over the past three to four years really have changed their attitude and expectation when it comes to digital content." They watch TV on a range of devices and "want all content on every screen at any time of the day." Many but by no means all cable companies offer subscribers "TV everywhere" services. But some consumers are switching to Netflix, Hulu, Chromecast, Amazon Prime, Apple TV and other streaming services.

Four out of 10 Americans have cut their landline phone cord, living with cellphones only. "The biggest predictor of whether or not someone is wireless only is whether they own or rent their home," says Stephen Blumberg of the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. "Renters are more than twice as likely as owners to be wireless only." Experts say many people who are holding onto their landlines only do so because they're part of their Internet and cable-TV package.

Drivers with three trucking companies at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have begun what they say is an indefinite strike. Right now the impact on the movement of cargo around of the biggest gateway trade with Asia is limited. But the threat of a broader disruption would grow if striking truckers take their pickets from the offices of their employers to the dockside terminals.

The cupcake company Crumbs says it's closing all its 65 stores. Most are in the Northeast and Washington, D.C. In the past few years, Crumbs suffered a big decline in sales. Employees were told the bad news Monday. Crumbs will file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio Twitter: daviesnow

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