We are closing in on two important deadlines for borrowers who may have been the victims of unlawful foreclosure practices. Two programs, the Independent Foreclosure Review and the National Mortgage Settlement, have been designed to ensure that major loan servicers are held responsible for their actions and that borrowers can receive some compensation as well.

The deadline to apply for an Independent Foreclosure Review is December 31, 2012.

Who is Eligible: Borrowers whose primary home went into foreclosure from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010 have the opportunity to apply if they used one of these 27 servicers: America’s Servicing Co., Aurora Loan Services, BAC Home Loans Servicing, Bank of America, Beneficial, Chase, Citibank, CitiFinancial, CitiMortgage, Countrywide, EMC, EverBank/EverHome Mortgage Company, Financial Freedom, GMAC Mortgage, HFC, HSBC, IndyMac Mortgage Services, MetLife Bank, National City Mortgage, PNC Mortgage, Sovereign Bank, SunTrust Mortgage, U.S. Bank, Wachovia, Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo, or Wilshire Credit Corporation. The website will help you to determine if you qualify.

How to Apply: Borrowers may contact a representative at 888-952-9105 or apply online.

What to Expect: Under the Independent Foreclosure Review, borrowers will have their foreclosure documents examined to ensure that their mortgages were foreclosed upon using the proper procedures. If that is not the case, and the borrower has been negatively impacted as a result, (see the FAQ for information on how this is defined and for a description of the review process) then he or she may receive some financial relief.

For More Information: Please visit the IFR website or the Federal Reserve to learn more.

January 18, 2013 is the last day for individuals to apply for funds under the National Mortgage Settlement, which five banks agreed to pay in response to a suit brought to them by the federal government and 49 attorneys general over their violations of foreclosure process guidelines.

Who is Eligible: Qualified borrowers worked with Ally Financial/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, or Wells Fargo, and had their residence foreclosed from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2011. There are a few additional, basic requirements to receive funds, for example, your foreclosed home must have been your residence and no larger than four units; please click here for more information.

How to Apply: Call the National Mortgage Settlement Administrator at 866-430-8358 or, if you have a claim number, click here to apply online.

What to Expect: Applicants could receive a minimum settlement amount of $840.

For More Information: Please see the National Mortgage Settlement website’s “Help for Homeowners.” You may also visit the website of your state’s attorney general; for example, see the California AG’s website for an excellent summary of the settlement.

Finally, be cautious of scams associated with the National Mortgage Settlement. Check with your loan servicer before entrusting anyone with your money or personal information.