President Obama today said the "landmark" $26 billion settlement between the nation's largest banks and states would speed relief to homeowners harmed by "plainly irresponsible" mortgage practices and begins "to turn the page on an era of recklessness that has left so much damage in its wake."
"Under the terms of this settlement, America's biggest banks, banks that were rescued by taxpayer dollars, will be required to right these wrongs," the president said. "These banks will put billions of dollars towards relief for families across the nation. They'll provide refinancing for borrowers that are stuck in high-interest-rate mortgages, they'll reduce loans for families who owe more on their homes than they're worth, and they will deliver some measure of justice for families that have already been victims of abusive practices."
The president stressed that the deal with the five largest mortgage providers is not enough to restore the housing market. "I want to be clear: No compensation, no amount of money, no measure of justice is enough to make it right for a family who's had their piece of the American dream wrongly taken from them. And no action, no matter how meaningful, is going to by itself entirely heal the housing market," he said. "But this settlement is a start."
The president urged Congress to act on his latest proposal to revive the housing market, which is intended to help homeowners refinance at today's low mortgage interest rates, even if they owe more than their homes are worth.
"Even with this settlement, there are still millions of responsible homeowners who are out there doing their best, and they need us to do more to help them get back on their feet. We've still got to stoke the fires of our economic recovery, so now is not the time to pull back," Obama said.