Last week, the nation's five largest loan servicers: Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank, and Ally Financial / GMAC agreed to a settlement which would give relief due to fraudulent and flawed foreclosure practices.
Oregon's Attorney General John Kroger announced that the settlement is in the best interest of Oregon consumers.
"Simply put, I do not believe we could get a better agreement on this limited set of issues if we litigated for several more years and delaying a resolution of this investigation would unnecessarily delay bringing relief to Oregon homeowners who need help now," said Kroger.
The settlement will bring an estimated $30 million to the State of Oregon, and an estimated $200 million in relief to distressed Oregon homeowners.
Consumers can visit www.nationalforeclosuresettlement.com for more information, or check the dedicated sites of the financial institutions.
Bank of America
Read more about the Multistate Settlement at the Attorney General's website.
The Oregon Department of Justice is warning consumers that some people who contact homeowners offering to do a foreclosure review are scam artists.
While the federal government's Independent Foreclosure Review program is currently in the process of legitimately offering reviews to some homeowners, you should be suspicious if you are contacted about a foreclosure review for a fee, or by an organization that requests information like social security numbers or banking information.
Some Oregon consumers have filed a Multnomah County court complaint against BP and Arco gas stations claiming that they apply fees on debit card transactions, increasing the total gas bill by 35 to 45 cents per transaction, without being clear about the fee. An Oregon law states that if the lowest price is only available under certain conditions (like paying with cash), then the condition must be stated on the price sign.
Many people use the end of the calendar year as a time to give to charity—partially because of the holiday season, and partially because it's the last chance to make donations that can be claimed on their taxes.
While it's wonderful to give charitably, it's also important to be wise about your giving. Here are some tips to giving to charity in a way in which both recipient and donor will win:
Avoid giving cash. Legitimate charities will be happy to receive a check or credit card payment. It's easier for your record-keeping, and safer for your wallet. Checks should always be made to the charity, not to the person collecting the money.
Check out the charity to be sure it's legit. You can use websites like the Better Business Bureau to find out more about the charity. Oregonians should also use the Oregon Department of Justice Charities Database to find out about organizations that are headquartered in Oregon.
Don't give to the 20 worst charities. Oregon Attorney General John Kroger last week announced a list of Oregon's 20 Worst Charities. In the non-profit world, one indicator of an organization being run well is if it spends at least 65% of their donations going toward the mission of the organization. The charities on the 20 Worst list used less than 30% of their donations for the mission.
Donate after research and planning, not on impulse. While door-to-door solicitations may be worthy and have a good story, it's best to do your research and be sure that organizations are legitimate and solid before giving.
For more smart giving tips, you can check out the Oregon Department of Justice's new Tips for Charitable Giving.