Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt announced the opening of Phase II of homeowner compensation from the Oklahoma Mortgage Settlement Fund. The deadline to apply is Dec. 31 for Oklahoma families who were harmed during the mortgage modification or foreclosure process with five mortgage servicers involved in the settlement. The new phase also extends the time frame for when harm occurred to include 2012. 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 to provide direct compensation.
“Fortunately for Oklahoma, we are the only state in a position to help our homeowners with direct meaningful relief,” Pruitt said. “By launching a Phase II for compensation, we can help those families who may have missed the deadline last year or who were not aware of the opportunity.”
In October, the AG’s Public Protection Unit, which manages the state settlement, mailed the first installment of checks to more than 100 Oklahomans. The amount awarded to Oklahoma families ranges from $5,000-$20,000–a maximum that could be more than 20 times the money awarded under the federal settlement. The latest estimate shows residents in other states could receive as little as $840, and no direct payments have been made under the federal settlement.
“It is very exciting to be able to provide these Oklahoma families some meaningful relief for the harm caused,” Pruitt said.
More than 700 Oklahomans applied for relief from the Oklahoma Mortgage Settlement Fund during Phase I, with an average payment so far of $11,173. Along with direct payments to residents from the Oklahoma Mortgage Settlement Fund, Oklahomans also qualify for portions of two federal settlements. The first federal settlement requires banks to work with homeowners on short sales, principle write-downs and mortgage modifications. So far, Oklahomans have received an average of $30,737 in mortgage assistance with this settlement.
A second federal settlement from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is providing direct payments of $300 to homeowners who qualify. For Oklahomans who are still in their homes and need help to avoid foreclosure, the AG’s Office has created a program called Resolution Oklahoma that provides free legal assistance. Assistant attorneys general have found that homeowners have better outcomes during the mortgage and foreclosure process when they have legal representation.
The first part of Resolution Oklahoma is in partnership with Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma to provide free legal assistance for lower income and older Oklahomans. The program is provided by a grant from the Oklahoma Mortgage Settlement Fund.
The second part of Resolution Oklahoma is for homeowners who do not qualify for income-based assistance. These homeowners can apply for a voucher worth up to $5,000 in legal services through the AG’s Office.
The voucher application must be completed by homeowners and their attorneys of choice and submitted to the AG’s Public Protection Unit for approval. Once approved, the attorneys will provide the services needed and submit the invoices to the AG’s Office for payment after the work is complete. All homeowners can apply for assistance through Resolution Oklahoma, no matter their mortgage company.