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Money available for some foreclosed homeowners
A recent settlement provides money to more than 200 eligible Crook County residents
January 10, 2013
About 20,000 Oregonians, including 233 Crook County residents, are now eligible to receive at least $840 as a result of a substantial multi-bank settlement.
However, nearly half of those people could miss out on that money unless they apply for it — and the deadline comes next Friday.
About one year ago, the federal government and 49 states reached a $25 billion settlement with Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, after suing the banks for improper foreclosure practices. As a result, about 2 million people nationwide are eligible to receive direct payments.
“Most of the $25 billion, they (the banks) pledged to come in the form of mortgage modification, principle write-downs, debt reductions, or short sales,” said Jeff Manning, communications director for the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ). “But there is a portion of money that is aimed at people who have already been foreclosed upon.”
In order to qualify for a settlement payment, a homeowner must have been foreclosed on between Jan. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2011, and their loan must have been serviced by one of the five banks involved in the suit.
Those who are eligible have to apply, and the deadline to do so is Jan. 18. So far, DOJ officials have only reached about 54 percent of the people eligible for the payment.
“We have done a lot of pretty comprehensive outreach programs,” Manning said, referencing purchased advertisements on the side of mass transit vehicles as well as “robo-calls” to eligible Oregonians. “It’s problematic finding those people. They have lost their home. They have moved.”
Although the 233 eligible Crook County residents represents a small portion of the approximately 20,000 throughout Oregon, Manning noted that Crook County faced more foreclosures than other counties.
“I started looking at the biggest numbers,” he said, “and Central Oregon’s numbers were well ahead of everybody else.”
Depending on the number of applicants that come in, Manning estimated that the payments could range from $840 to about $2,000. The settlement provides a set amount of money for Oregon regardless of the number of applicants, therefore fewer recipients result in a higher payment per person.
Whatever amount of money applicants ultimately receive, Manning acknowledged that it will not undo the damage caused by the foreclosures they endured. Nevertheless, he does expect the payments to help ease the pain.
“We’re not talking about a big ol’ pile of money here that is going to make these people whole,” he said, “but it’s better than nothing.”
To be eligible for a settlement payment, a homeowner must have been foreclosed on between Jan. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2011, and had their loan serviced by Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, or Wells Fargo.
To apply for the payment, go to www.oregonhomeownersupport.gov. The deadline to apply is Jan. 18, 2013.