SALEM, Ore. - Later this month, the administrator of the landmark National Mortgage Settlement will mail checks for $1,480 to 15,937 Oregonians who lost their homes to foreclosure during the recession, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said Tuesday.
Nationally, more than 960,000 foreclosed homeowners will receive the checks, funded by the largest five home mortgage servicers in the country.
Thanks to a vigorous outreach effort led by Oregon Housing and Community Services and the Oregon Department of Justice, nearly 80 percent of eligible Oregonians – 15,937 out of 19,975 -- submitted valid claims and will receive payment.
The big loan servicers agreed to the payments – about $1.5 billion nationally – to compensate borrowers for widespread mortgage serving abuses that surfaced after the housing bust.
The housing crash brought with it revelations of fraudulent foreclosures, robosigned mortgage documents, and a notoriously difficult and confusing loan modification process for people trying to stay in their homes.
"These payments are part of our efforts to hold the banks accountable through the National Mortgage Settlement," said Rosenblum. "In addition to compensating borrowers for the servicing abuse that happened in the past, we're trying to stop these practices through the settlement's tough new mortgage servicing standards."
The Oregon Department of Justice, along with 48 other states, negotiated the February 2012 settlement with Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo and Ally (formerly GMAC.)
In addition to the $1.5 billion payments to foreclosed homeowners, the five big banks also agreed to provide more than $27 billion worth of non-cash assistance to people still in their homes.
The banks now claim they've dispensed more than $50 billion worth of principal reductions, interest rate cuts and short sales and have fulfilled their obligations under the settlement. Those numbers must still be confirmed by the National Mortgage Settlement monitor.
To be eligible for the cash payments, borrowers had to submit a valid claim to the National Mortgage Settlement administrator and have been a loan servicing customer of Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Citi or Ally. Only those who lost their home to foreclosure between Jan. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2011 were eligible.
The payment does not limit a borrower from seeking relief through a separate lawsuit or other claims.
The checks will be mailed from June 10-17.
A relatively small number of borrowers will not receive a check in the initial mailing or will receive a split payment.
- Some borrowers will receive a check for less than the approximate $1,480 payment in situations where borrowers are divorced or separated and no longer live at the same address. The full per-loan amount will be paid on these loans, but the payment will be evenly split between the borrowers.
- A small number of borrowers who submitted a claim form but do not have a valid Social Security number on file will be delayed in receiving their payments while tax-related issues are addressed.
- Two servicers recently provided information on an additional 31,000 borrowers, and thus they could not be included in this distribution. Later this summer, these consumers will receive a notice and will have the opportunity to submit a payment application.
Every borrower who filed a claim will receive a letter regarding their outcome. Borrowers with questions about their National Mortgage Settlement payment should call the settlement administrator at 1-866-430-8358.
National Mortgage Settlement, Independent Foreclosure Review Payments are Separate
The National Mortgage Settlement is different from the Independent Foreclosure Review, another national mortgage settlement resulting in payments to homeowners. The Independent Foreclosure Review, led by the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, began distributing payments in April. Final payments will be mailed in mid-July.