Arizona AG to hunt with pack on subprime meltdowns

Legal News Line Oct. 1, 2007, 9:00am

Terry Goddard

PHOENIX -- There's good news and bad news out west on two key finance-scandal issues, according to state attorneys general. Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard has joined other state AGs in a national task force to probe fall out from the sub-prime mortgage crisis. The state has the second-highest number of subrpime-mortgagee homeowners in the nation after neighboring Nevada. Phoenix's house prices suffered the nation's fourth-worst drop - 7.3 percent - over the past year, the Arizona Republic reported Friday. Mortgage defaults are also increasing because payment-obligations on subprime mortages are also rising. Goddard and other attorneys general in the task force met last week with subprime mortgage lenders in Chicago, including Countrywide and Household Finance. "We are talking to the servicers because they are in the position to do something to help these homeowners," Goddard told the Republic. Similar problems in much larger states have spurred quick actions from AGs not known for their reticence on popular issues. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, for example, recently launched a subprime mortgage suit while Greg Abbott of Texas formed his own task force, LNL reported last month Further north in Montana, Attorney General Mike McGrath reported good news from a survey he recently conducted of Montana's state colleges. It was conducted in repsonse to revelations on other campuses that students were steered towards college loans by university employees receiving 'kickbacks' from lenders. Not in Montana, apparently. "It is clear...that the deceptive and illegal conduct that has been found to exist in the school loan industry in some other states is not occurring in Montana's institutions of higher education," McGrath stated in a release.

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