OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma's attorney general delivered $20,000 to a Tulsa couple Monday, the first of hundreds of mortgage settlement checks to be given to homeowners who were victims of wrongful lending practices and in some cases lost their homes.
"It will absolutely change our lives," said Zachary Zuniga of the check. He and his wife, Melissa, saw their $105,000 house go into foreclosure after they attempted to participate in a mortgage modification program with their lender.
Now, with Melissa expecting their fourth child in December, the family is starting over and planning to use the money to pay off debt and buy a new home.
Oklahoma was the only state that did not sign off on a $25 billion settlement with mortgage lenders instead of reaching a separate $18.6 million settlement with the companies.
Attorney General Scott Pruitt said the check he gave the Zunigas represents the first mortgage compensation payment in the nation to be delivered to victims of unfair and deceptive practices by five national lenders: Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, GMAC and Wells Fargo.
"I pray that this is helpful to you," Pruitt told the couple as he presented them with an envelope containing their check.
The first Oklahoma payments will be mailed this week. All mortgage compensation checks in the state will be sent by January, Pruitt said. National settlement checks will not be sent until April at the earliest, he said.