The $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement was reached early last year between the five big banks and 49 state attorneys general, but it seems that the lone holdout — Oklahoma — is drawing bigger payouts for its victims of the same foreclosure abuses.
More than 700 Oklahomans who applied for relief under the Oklahoma Mortgage Settlement Fund (Phase I) have received an average payment so far of $11,173.
That’s about five to ten times more than anticipated payouts for victims in the other 49 states, who can expect an estimated payment from just under $1,000 to $2,000 — although administrators of the national deal have yet to release precise amounts.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt announced this week the beginning of Phase II of his state’s compensation program for eligible borrowers. Foreclosure victims who did not meet last year’s deadline to file for relief with the state can do so until Dec. 31, 2013.
Moreover, the new phase also extends the time-frame to include 2012 for when Oklahomans became victims of improper mortgage servicing, or foreclosure-prevention practices, by the five lenders.
By crafting its own agreement with Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Ally/GMAC and Wells Fargo, Oklahoma is able to provide direct compensation — while claimants to the National Mortgage Settlement await word from the 49-state deal’s overwhelmed payout agent, Rust Consulting, which is also handling the nearly 4 million checks in the separate settlement known as the Independent Foreclosure Review.
In October, the Oklahoma AG’s Public Protection Unit, which is overseeing the state settlement, mailed the first installment of checks to more than 100 Oklahomans.
The amount awarded to each Oklahoma family ranges from $5,000 to $20,000.
“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.”
Along with direct payments from the Oklahoma Mortgage Settlement Fund, Oklahomans also qualify for portions of the NMS and Independent Foreclosure Review (IFR) federal settlements.
The NMS 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.
The second national settlement, the IFR — reached in January between bank regulators and 13 mortgage servicers — is providing direct payments of $300 to Oklahoma homeowners who qualify.