Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has issued the first mortgage compensation checks in the nation to Oklahoma families who were victims of unfair and deceptive practices by five national servicers following the financial crisis. Oklahoma was the only state to craft its own agreement with Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, GMAC and Wells Fargo, which allowed the Attorney General’s Office to provide compensation up to 20 times more than the payments residents in other states are expected to receive under the federal settlement. More than 700 Oklahomans applied for relief from the Oklahoma Mortgage Settlement Fund, with an average payment so far of $11,000.
“These families endured horrendous conduct, lost their homes in many cases and deserve more than an 'I’m sorry' and a few hundred dollars,” Pruitt said. “It is very exciting to be able to provide these Oklahoma families some meaningful relief for the harm caused, and a chance at a fresh start.”
The AG’s Public Protection Unit, which manages the state settlement, mailed the first installment of checks to more than 100 Oklahomans. Checks will be mailed to recipients each week through the end of January. Families that qualify under one of two main categories receive a minimum of $5,000. Some families will receive as much as $20,000.
The amount awarded to Oklahoma families will range from $5,000-$20,000—a maximum that could be more than 20 times the money awarded under the federal settlement. The latest estimates show residents in other states could receive as little as $840 from the federal fund.
Many of the 49 states that participated in the federal settlement are using the money they receive under the federal settlement to fund various areas unrelated to housing. The areas include the state’s general fund, higher education, marketing and additional staff for AG’s offices. No other state is currently sending direct payments to residents.
“There was a fair share of skeptics when we chose to make our own Oklahoma agreement apart from 49 other states, but we took what we learned from the 50-state investigation and created a plan that will help Oklahomans in a significant way,” Pruitt said.