Oklahoma is lone maverick in national mortgage settlement signed by 49 states

BY RICHARD MIZE richardmize@opubco.com Published: February 10, 2012

Differences over philosophy of government kept Oklahoma out of the mortgage settlement the 49 other states struck with five national lenders, but the state still will be awarded $18.6 million in damages for borrowers seeking relief from unfair or lawful mortgage servicing practices, Attorney General Scott Pruitt said Thursday.

The state will receive the same amount in compensatory damages, for violations of state law, as if it has signed onto the national agreement, he said.

Pruitt said Oklahoma's relatively healthy housing also set it apart from the other states.

“Oklahoma is fortunate to have a stronger housing market and economy than many other states that are struggling,” Pruitt said at a news conference at his office near the Capitol. “This settlement will provide damages to those Oklahomans who did fall victim to unfair and unlawful misconduct of mortgage servicing companies, whole not exceeding the appropriate role and authority of state attorneys general.”

The lenders agreeing to the settlement are Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and GMAC. Pruitt said his office had received 86 complaints about foreclosure and loan servicing practices since October 2010 when the National Association of Attorneys General formed a bipartisan, multistate group to address issues related to the mortgage crisis. The inquiry eventually also involved federal agencies including the Justice Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Treasury, the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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