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Household Settlement

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New York Payment Plan
under the
Household-Beneficial Settlement 

As a result of the investigation by New York, along with the 49 other states and the District of Columbia, into the way that real estate loans were made in the branches of Household and Beneficial, a nationwide settlement was reached with Household International, the owner of Household and Beneficial, that will allow some New York consumers who received a real estate loan from Household or Beneficial between January 1, 1999 and September 30, 2002 to receive cash payments.  In addition to providing money for these payments, Household International also agreed to make changes in the way that real estate loans are made in the Household and Beneficial branches.

The payment plan for New York residents was jointly developed and approved by the New York State Banking Department and the New York State Attorney General.  In order to be eligible to receive a payment, your real estate loan must have been made at a Household or Beneficial branch between January 1, 1999 to September 30, 2002 and the loan meets at least one of the following criteria: 

  1. Household or Beneficial charged you fees of 5 or more points of the loan amount at the time the loan was made; or

  2. If the loan-to-value ratio was more than 100%.  The loan-to-value ratio is more than 100% when the dollar amount of the loan exceeds the appraised value of the house at the time the loan was made; or

  3. If you participated in the “E-Z Pay” program AND the loan is not covered by one of the first two categories described above.

Loans that come under both of the first two categories will be eligible for payments for being in each category.  The amount of the payment that you can receive per loan will be based on the dollar amount of your loan.  As a result, the larger your loan amount, the greater the amount of your payment.  If you had more than one loan that qualified under the New York payment plan, then you are entitled to receive a payment for each loan and for each category for which it qualified.

To receive money from the settlement, you will have to sign a Release form.  If you have more than one loan that qualifies, you will have to sign a Release form for each loan.  The signed Release form or forms should only be sent to the Settlement Administrator at the address on the return envelope enclosed with the Release form.

The minimum amount of money you will receive will be listed on the Release form for each loan.  The exact amount you will receive cannot be calculated until after October 14, 2003 when the final number of New York participants is determined.  At that time, the final calculation will be made based on the final number of borrowers who choose to participate in the settlement.  The payment that you will receive can only increase and cannot be less than the minimum amount listed on the Release form. 

You do not have to participate in this Plan.  But if you do not return the signed Release form to the administrator by October 14, 2003, then you will not receive any money under the Settlement.  Also, you will not be given another opportunity to join the Settlement.  If you do return a signed Release form, you are choosing not to sue or join a class action against Household or Beneficial as is explained in the Release form.  However, as explained in the Release, returning a signed Release does not prevent you from suing if your home is or goes into foreclosure. 

Neither the Banking Department, the Attorney General or the Administrator can advise you whether to participate in the settlement and waive any claims that you might have in connection with your real estate loan from Household and Beneficial.

If you have additional questions, please contact the Banking Department’s Mortgage Banking Division in any of the following ways: 

Email mortgage@banking.state.ny.us
Telephone 1-800-334-3360
Fax 1-212-709-5555
Mail  Mortgage Banking Division
New York State Banking Department
One State Street
New York, NY 10004-1417

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the purpose of this Settlement?
This Settlement was entered on December 16, 2002 and was a result of investigations by the States and the District of Columbia into allegations of unfair and deceptive mortgage lending practices by Household and Beneficial. This Settlement will provide partial relief to borrowers in connection with real estate secured loans obtained from Household or Beneficial.

2. What makes a consumer eligible to participate?
You must have obtained a real estate secured loan (i.e. a mortgage loan or home equity loan) from a Household or Beneficial retail-lending branch between January 1, 1999 and September 30, 2002. This includes loans that were opened during this time period regardless of whether or not the loan is currently open or closed. Each State has determined its own payment plan for eligible consumers, and it is possible that some State plans may not cover all mortgage loans.

3. Who determines eligibility to participate?
Each State has set eligibility standards for its borrowers who obtained real estate secured loans (i.e. mortgage loans or home equity loans) in that State. Any borrowers who receive a Release form have already been determined by their State to be eligible to participate.

4. What is the total Settlement fund?
The total Settlement fund is $484,000,000. It has been divided among the 50 States and the District of Columbia based on the total dollar amount of the real estate secured loans made in each State. Each State will take its share of the Settlement fund and distribute it to that State's eligible borrowers.

5. Are there any components of the Settlement affecting borrowers, other than monetary relief?
Yes, Household and Beneficial have agreed to change their business practices. As part of these changes, all prepayment penalty provisions have been modified. Any prepayment penalty provision now existing in any Household or Beneficial real estate secured loan made on or after January 1, 1999 will now be in effect only for the first 24 months of the real estate secured loan regardless of what the loan documents say. Household and Beneficial notified borrowers of changes to the prepayment penalty provision in their loans in February 2003.

6. What is the deadline for returning my Release?
The deadline for returning a signed Release Form is October 14, 2003. Forms mailed after this date may not be accepted.

7. What does the Settlement Administrator think of the Settlement?
The Settlement Administrator is a neutral party that has been hired as the Administrator for this Settlement. We cannot offer our opinion.

8. Can the Settlement Administrator give me advice on whether I should sign the Release?
No, the Settlement Administrator cannot give legal or other advice. If you would like advice, please consult a private attorney of your choosing.

9. What if I don't want to participate in this Settlement?
Simply do not complete the Release form. Nothing else is required. By completing a Release Form, you are agreeing to participate in the Settlement. If you do not return a signed Release form, you have not agreed to participate and will automatically be excluded from the Settlement and will not receive a Settlement payment.

10. How do I obtain more information on this Settlement?
If you have additional questions not answered on this web page, please click here or the "Contact the Administrator" button to the left, for instructions on how to call, write or e-mail the Settlement Administrator. Also, many of the States have posted additional information about the Settlement on their web sites, including information about their restitution plans. For those States, please click here or the "Information Provided by the States" button on the left, and then click on the link for your state.

11. What do I need to do to participate in the Settlement?
Borrowers who are eligible to participate will receive a letter and Release form from their State Official(s). As explained in the letter, borrowers need only fill out, sign and return the Release form in the postage pre-paid envelope provided by October 14, 2003 in order to participate. Borrowers should retain the "borrower copy" of the Release for their own records. The letter describes what to do if there is more than one borrower listed on a given loan.

12. How will I know if my Release form has been received?
You may contact the Settlement Administrator at 1-888-780-2156 or the Settlement Administrator's website, www.household-beneficial-settlement.com to check on the status of your Release form. Once you reach the website, there is an option to contact the Administrator via email. The Settlement Administrator will receive your email and respond as quickly as possible (by email or phone). Please wait one week from the time you return your Release before contacting the Settlement Administrator to see if your Release has been received.

The Settlement Administrator will contact you if there are any questions or problems with your Release form.

13. I lost my Release form. Can the Settlement Administrator mail me another one?
Yes, if you were part of the original mailing, the Settlement Aministrator can arrange to have another letter and Release form sent to you.

You may contact the Settlement Administrator at 1-888-780-2156 or the Settlement Administrator's website, www.household-beneficial-settlement.com to request another Release packet. Once you reach the website, there is an option to contact the Administrator via email. You can request another Release packet by emailing the Settlement Administrator. After receiving your e-mail, the Settlement Administrator will confirm that you are eligible to participate in the Settlement and then will send you another Release packet as soon as possible.

14. How much money will I receive if I participate in the Settlement?
Each State has developed its own plan for distributing the Settlement funds it received. The minimum payment you are eligible for is on the Release Form you received with the notice letter. You may get more than this amount, depending on the number of borrowers in your State who decide to participate in the Settlement, but you will not get less than this minimum amount.

15. How was this amount calculated?
The amount was calculated based on the restitution plan adopted by your State. You can get more information about your State's restitution plan by accessing the Settlement Administrator's website at www.household-beneficial-settlement.com, and then going to the link to your State.

16. If my loan had a co-borrower do we both need to sign the Release form?
Yes, all borrowers who signed the original loan documents must sign the Release form in order to receive payment. If there is more than one borrower on the loan, the Release form will not be valid with only one signature. If there is more than one borrower, payment cannot be made to one or another of the co-borrowers, but must be made to both (assuming both borrowers can sign the form - see below).

17. I had a co-borrower but cannot get a signature (due to divorce, estrangement, etc.), what are my options?
If you've made every effort to obtain the co-borrower's signature, but cannot get it, you should sign and send in the Release form with a letter attached explaining the circumstances as to why the co-borrower signature cannot be completed. The States and Household or Beneficial will review your submission, and you will be notified of their decision. If your submission is accepted, payment will be made to you alone (without the other borrower's name appearing on the check).

18. I am the guardian or executor of the estate of (claimant name) and he/she was sent a Release form for this Settlement. How can the form be completed?
Sign and date a letter explaining the circumstances and attach this letter to the Release form, along with photocopies (please do not send in original legal documents) of any other legal documentation showing you as the guardian or executor of the estate of (claimant name). Return the letter, copies of documents and Release form to the Administrator, along with the address where payment should be sent, before October 14, 2003. The States and Household or Beneficial will review your submission, and you will be notified of their decision. If your submission is accepted, payment will be made payable to "The Estate of (claimant name)."

19. Why did I receive more than one Release packet?
Borrowers who have more than one real estate secured loan with Household or Beneficial, but obtained one loan individually and the other(s) with a co-borrower, or had different co-borrowers on the loans (for example, a spouse was the co-borrower on one loan and a brother or sister was the co-borrower on a second loan), will receive separate Release Packets for each loan. These borrowers must sign and return each Release form included in each separate Release Packet in order to receive a payment on all covered loans. If there is a problem with getting a co-borrower's signature, please follow the procedure set forth in Question 17 above. Please make sure you keep the copy of each Release form that has been provided.

20. I have not received my Release packet from my State Official(s), but I think I may be eligible.
The Release packet from your State Official(s) is due to be mailed to eligible borrowers on August 15, 2003. If you are contacting the Settlement Administrator before August 30, 2003, please note that your Release packet may still be on its way to you. Please contact the Settlement Administrator after August 30, 2003 if you still have not received a packet.

21. When will I receive my payment?
Remember, if you want to receive payment, you must mail your signed Release form by October 14, 2003. Because this Settlement involves hundreds of thousands of borrowers across the country, it will take some time for the Settlement Administrator to process all Release forms. If everything goes as planned, we anticipate that payments will be mailed by the end of December 2003.

22. Will my information be kept confidential?
Yes, the Settlement Administrator will protect the privacy of all information provided to it by you or Household or Beneficial. This information will be used only to administer this Settlement. To be sure that you are providing information only to the Settlement Administrator, send your information by mail to:

Household-Beneficial Settlement Administrator
PO Box 3775
Portland, Oregon 97208-3775

or contact the Settlement Administrator by phone at 1-888-780-2156 or through the Settlement Administrator's website www.household-beneficial-settlement.com.
Do not provide confidential information to anyone who calls you and claims to be the Settlement Administrator, or to anyone who requests that you send confidential information to any other address, phone number or website.

23. What if my loan is not a real estate loan? Can I still be included in this Settlement?
The Settlement only covers real estate secured loans (i.e. mortgage loans or home equity loans) from a Household or Beneficial retail-lending branch that were entered into between January 1, 1999 and September 30, 2002. This includes loans that were opened during this time period regardless of whether or not the loan is currently open or closed.

24. I have a real estate loan that I opened on (any date prior to or after the date covered by the Settlement agreement). Am I included in this Settlement?
No, the Settlement only covers real estate secured loans (i.e. mortgage loans or home equity loans) from a Household or Beneficial retail-lending branch that were entered into between January 1, 1999 and September 30, 2002. This includes loans that were opened during this time period regardless of whether or not the loan is currently open or closed.

25. Can I take the signed Release form to my Household (or Beneficial) Branch Office or State Official's Office?
No, the signed Release form must be returned to the Settlement Administrator at:

Household-Beneficial Settlement Administrator
PO Box 3775
Portland, Oregon 97208-3775

26. Can I fax my Release form to my Household (or Beneficial) Branch Office or State Official's Office?
No, the Settlement Administrator must receive an original signature; therefore you have to return the form by mail. The original and signed Release form must be returned to the Settlement Administrator at:

Household-Beneficial Settlement Administrator
PO Box 3775
Portland, Oregon 97208-3775

27. I have already paid off my Household (or Beneficial) real estate secured loan. Am I still included in this Settlement?
Yes, customers whose loans have already been paid off are eligible to participate in the Settlement provided that the loans were real estate secured loans (i.e. mortgage loans or home equity loans) from a Household or Beneficial retail-lending branch that were entered into between January 1, 1999 and September 30, 2002. This includes loans that were opened during this time period regardless of whether or not the loan is currently open or closed.

28. My real estate secured loan is open and I'm still making payments to Household (or Beneficial). Am I still included in this Settlement?
Yes, customers whose loans are still open may be eligible to participate in the Settlement provided that the loans were real estate secured loans (i.e. mortgage loans or home equity loans) received from Household or Beneficial that were entered into between January 1, 1999 through September 30, 2002. This includes loans that were opened during this time period regardless of whether or not the loan is currently open or closed.

29. If I sign this Release from, does this mean that I don't have to continue to make payments on my loan?
No, this Settlement does not affect the status of your loan or release you from any payment obligation for any open loan with Household or Beneficial. You must continue to make your loan payments in accordance with the terms of the loan agreement.

30. I want to payoff my Household (or Beneficial) loan. How can I find out what my payoff balance is?
To obtain a payoff statement from Household (or Beneficial) you may contact Household’s Customer Service Department at 1-800-395-6000 or www.householdfinance.com/settlement or Beneficial’s Customer Service Department at 1-800-957-0003 or www.beneficial.com/settlement.

31. I have other questions regarding my Household (or Beneficial) loan. Who can I contact?

You may contact Household’s Customer Service Department at 1-800-395-6000 or www.householdfinance.com/settlement or Beneficial’s Customer Service Department at 1-800-957-0003 or www.beneficial.com/settlement.

32. What if my home is in foreclosure or has gone through foreclosure?
If you receive a Release form, you are eligible to receive a payment under the Settlement. However, participating in the Settlement and receiving a payment will NOT stop or undo a foreclosure. If you choose to participate in the Settlement, you must sign and return the Release form. In doing so, you give up various legal rights (listed on the Release form), but you do not give up your right to raise any rights and defenses in a foreclosure action. You are advised to contact a private attorney about your situation.

33. Do I have to pay taxes on the settlement payment I will be receiving?
Some consumers may receive a 1099 form with their settlement payment. However, whether any payment that you receive under this settlement is taxable will depend on several factors. Because of this, we are not able to give any individual tax advice. If you have tax questions, you should contact a local tax preparer or advisor 

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