Oklahoma homeowners facing foreclosure may qualify for free legal help, thanks to a new program.
"Resolution Oklahoma" comes after a multi-million dollar settlement between the attorney general's office and five of the nation's biggest lenders.
Oklahoma was the only state not to participate in a nationwide settlement against those lenders. Instead, the attorney general's office reached its own agreement.
As a result, a new program was created specifically for Oklahomans, aimed at keeping people in their homes.
"Resolution Oklahoma" provides new options for homeowners who are having difficulty paying their mortgage.
"They need someone to walk alongside them to assist them, to negotiate with the bank, to represent them at the bank," Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said.
Pruitt said taking on the banks alone can be a daunting task.
"We have found that when those individuals have access to attorney's council, to navigate those waters, it's much more effective," Pruitt said. "There was such a huge volume of foreclosures with these national services, that they got sloppy and engaged in conduct that was more than sloppy, it was unlawful."
Oklahoma cut its own $18.6 million deal as part of the Oklahoma Mortgage Settlement with Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, AMAC and Wells Fargo.
Part of that money went to homeowners wrongfully foreclosed on, with the rest headed to this new program.
"The national settlement, very little of the money actual went to wrongful conduct, and that to me was not the focus of the initial investigation," Pruitt said.
Pruitt wants to stress that homeowners don't have to have a mortgage with one of the five major lenders to get help.
They can contact Legal Aid Services to see if they qualify, and even if they don't, they could still be eligible for a voucher of up to $5,000 for legal services.
"If you're in a situation right now in Oklahoma, and you are facing the potential for foreclosure, or you're in a situation where you need assistance from an attorney to help avert that and stay in your home, that's what this program is for," Pruitt said.
Voucher applications are available online by clicking here or by calling 405-521-2029.
There is also a separate program "Heroes," which serves veterans through the Oklahoma Bar Association.
For more information, on that program, click here.