If your home was foreclosed on by one of the “Big 5” lenders in 2008 to 2011, you may be entitled to some money. But you only have until Jan. 18, 2013, to make your claim.

In February 2012, the federal government and 49 states reached a $25 billion settlement with the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers—Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Well Fargo—for unscrupulous lending practices. The settlement money will go toward loan modifications, refinancing of upside-down mortgages, consumer protection programs, lending reform, state oversight of national banks and payments to borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure.

“It’s at least $840 per homeowner,” said Jeff Manning, public information officer for the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ). However, “to qualify, eligible people have to fill out a form.”

Manning shared with CRBJ statewide foreclosure numbers obtained in the settlement. “These are really crucial numbers because these are some of the people eligible to get the settlement money,” he said.

The data only include homes foreclosed on by the Big 5 lenders between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2011, so it is not a complete picture of how Oregonians have been impacted by foreclosure over the past few years, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

“Central Oregon was the foreclosure king,” Manning said. The Bend area and Jackson County were particularly hard hit, he said.

The Big 5 foreclosed 1 out of every 54 housing units in Jackson County for a total of 1,684 homes, according to the DOJ data and U.S. Census Bureau statistics. However, the Big 5 foreclosure rate in Columbia County was even worse; 1 in 50 housing units were foreclosed on, for a total of 418 homes.

By way of comparison, the Big 5 foreclosure rate in other northwest Oregon counties were as follows: Washington, 1 in 81; Polk, 1 in 90; Yamhill, 1 in 93; Lane, 1 in 121; Clatsop, 1 in 149; Lincoln, 1 in 166; Multnomah, 1 in 189; Tillamook, 1 in 191; and Benton, 1 in 273.

Nationwide online foreclosure property marketplace RealtyTrac keeps data on foreclosures. According to this data, the overall foreclosure rate in northwest Oregon from 2008 through 2011 were as follows: Columbia, 1 in 34; Yamhill, 1 in 37; Polk 1 in 39; Washington, 1 in 46; Multnomah, 1 in 49; Lincoln, 1 in 54; Clatsop, 1 in 60; Tillamook, 1 in 38; Lane, 1 in 72; and Benton, 1 in 174.

It’s important when looking at these numbers to note that CRBJ was not able to find reliable data for the number of housing units with a mortgage, so homes without mortgages (which would not be at risk of foreclosure) are included in the total number of housing units used to create these foreclosure rates. The actual foreclosure rate among housing units with a mortgage is likely higher, however these data allow us to compare the impact of foreclosures across the state.

One might expect that the counties hit hardest by foreclosure would have a higher proportion of foreclosures perpetuated by Big 5 lenders, but that pattern doesn’t seem to hold true for northwest Oregon counties. In Columbia County, the hardest hit county, 69 percent of foreclosures were by a Big 5 lender, but Benton County, the least affected county, came in second with 64 percent of foreclosures carried out by a Big 5 lender.

It’s difficult to find any patterns that suggest certain ages or ethnicities were harder hit than others. “I really do think this was an equal opportunity phenomenon,” Manning said.

The strongest patterns among the coastal Clatsop, Tillamook and Lincoln counties show that zip codes with the high per capita income and low occupancy rates fared the best. So second home communities like Tolovana Park, Cannon Beach, Gleneden Beach, Yachats, Neskowin and Manzanita each had relatively few foreclosures while homes in Warrenton, Waldport and Tillamook were five times as likely to be foreclosed on by a Big 5 lender.

To make a claim for damages from one of the Big 5 lenders, be sure to fill out the claim form by Jan. 18 at nationalforeclosuresettlement.com. More information and assistance is available from the state DOJ at 877-877-9392 or online at doj.state.or.us/consumer/Pages/foreclosure_settlement.aspx.

 

County

No. Big-5 Foreclosures

Big 5 Foreclosure Rate (X units:1foreclosure)

Total Foreclosures (RealtyTrac)

Total Forclosure Rate (1 in X units foreclosed)

% from Big 5

Benton

133

273

209

174

64%

Clatsop

145

149

361

60

40%

Columbia

418

50

606

34

69%

Lane

1290

121

2182

72

59%

Lincoln

185

166

564

54

33%

Mulnomah

1720

189

6662

49

26%

Polk

338

90

776

39

44%

Tillamook

96

191

270

68

36%

Washington

2641

81

4639

46

57%

Yamhill

399

93

1001

37

40%

 

 

 

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