AUGUSTA — More than $200,000 from a settlement reached between the state and Countrywide Financial Corp. will be split among Maine’s 10 Community Action Programs to help consumers in foreclosure cases, Attorney General Janet Mills announced today.

Maine brought claims against Countrywide for predatory lending practices and unfair and deceptive trade practices in connection with its loan servicing business. The parties settled in July 2009, with Maine receiving $430,000.

About $225,000 has already been distributed to homeowners with Countrywide loans who filed claims for relief, Mills said in a press release. The remaining $200,507 will go to the Community Action Programs, which provide counseling for people facing foreclosure.

“These agencies are well aware of the neediest homeowners in their respective areas and they are best suited to decide how the money may be used to make the most difference in consumers’ lives,” Mills said.

Other terms of the settlement require Countrywide to work with some consumers on loan modifications. Other consumers who don’t qualify for loan modifications will be offered financial assistance for relocation, Mills said.

“The loan modification process is very confusing and frustrating for consumers,” she said in the release. “I urge consumers not to pay for foreclosure assistance. Foreclosure assistance programs that charge fees are often scams. Consumers at risk of foreclosure should contact a
HUD certified counselor.”

For free advice from a HUD certified counselor, call 1-888-664-2569. Maine residents facing foreclosure also have the right to mediation in the court system.