The Associated Press February 10, 2012, 9:57AM ET

Foreclosure settlement nets Oregon at least $100M

Underwater homeowners in Oregon will receive between $100 million and $200 million in a landmark settlement with the nation's biggest mortgage lenders over foreclosure abuses, the state's attorney general said.

Oregon and 48 other states are part of the $25 billion settlement announced Thursday.

Tony Green, a spokesman for the attorney general's office, said the final figure is uncertain because it depends on the number of people who apply for the money, and their circumstances.

"It will be directed to people who are foreclosed on or people in the process of being foreclosed on," Green said.

About 8,000 people who have already been foreclosed upon will receive checks of between $1,800 and $2,000.

Under the agreement, the state of Oregon would also receive $30 million. Green said Kroger will urge the Legislature to set aside part of that money "to keep people in their homes."

Under the settlement, Oregon waives its right to bring civil lawsuits against Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Ally Financial Inc. and Citigroup Inc.

Homeowners can still sue lenders in civil court on their own, and federal and state authorities can still pursue criminal charges.

The deal, reached after 16 months of contentious negotiations, is subject to approval by a federal judge. It's the biggest settlement involving a single industry since the $206 billion multistate tobacco deal in 1998.

The bulk of the settlement will go toward reducing and refinancing "underwater" mortgages in which borrowers owes more than their homes are worth. But the banks had realized they weren't going to collect the loans and had already written down their value.

The settlement also ends a separate investigation into Bank of America and Countrywide for inflating appraisals of loans from 2003 through most of 2009. Bank of America acquired Countrywide in 2008.


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