Ohio AG disburses $1 million of Countrywide settlement

Chris Rizo Dec. 9, 2009, 9:18pm

Richard Cordray (D)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline)-- Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray on Wednesday directed $1 million to programs aimed at helping struggling buyers keep their homes.

The money comes from a $4.4 million settlement finalized last year with Countrywide Financial Corp., now owned by Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America Corp., over alleged unfair and deceptive mortgage practices.

In all 14 HUD-certified agencies won grants ranging from $26,000 to nearly $120,000. Cordray said the awards could help more than 13,000 troubled homeowners next year through renegotiated mortgages and court mediation.

"These agencies are on the front line of our battle against foreclosure," Cordray said. "A record number of Ohioans are at risk of losing their homes due to predatory lending practices and corporate greed. By working with these specialized programs which help homeowners complete mortgage workouts and court mediation, I hope we can help stabilize the situation a bit. "

Cordray's office said the 14 grant recipients were selected through a competitive process which included the requirements of an 18-month track record of providing foreclosure assistance, including established relationships with mortgage servicers.

Additionally, the attorney general's office said it received input from the Department of Commerce in deciding how to distribute the grant funds.

The remaining $3.39 million in Countrywide settlement funds is being distributed to Countrywide borrowers in Ohio who have lost their homes to foreclosure.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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