From the consumer protection folks over at the North Carolina Department of Justice:

North Carolina consumers have until Sept. 15 to file their claim forms in order to obtain relief under nationwide “Ocwen Settlement”

If you lost a home to foreclosure between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2012, and if your home loan was serviced at the time of foreclosure by Ocwen, Litton Loan Servicing, or Homeward Residential (formerly known as American Home Mortgage Servicing or AHMSI), you may be eligible to obtain cash relief under the settlement.

Individual consumers will likely receive payments of between $679 and $1,235, depending upon how many eligible people submit claims. Payment checks are expected to be mailed in late 2014 or early 2015.


In December 2013, Ocwen Financial Corporation, and its subsidiary, Ocwen Loan Servicing, agreed to settle a nationwide lawsuit, brought by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the attorneys general of 49 states, and the District of Columbia. Read More

Back to School Series

This is part of a Back to School blog series that highlight various issues to be aware of as the 2014-15 school year kicks off. (See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6)

Our Back to School series ends today just like the first or second week of school will for millions of North Carolina public school students. If there is anything that should be taken from this series it is that in the light of what seem to be tremendous problems, we still see success.

It would be foolish to say that we see the success that we all want to see. We still have problems with a school-to-prison pipeline that takes too many students out of an educational environment and, worse, puts mostly minority students in contact with the criminal justice system. Too many immigrant students are not being enrolled in school based on their perceived status. As you may note from this very series, the state has not invested in the programs that help students to achieve.

If there is a takeaway, it should be that our school personnel and our students are resilient. In the last few months students have seen: Read More

Falling Behind in NC, NC Budget and Tax Center

Lawmakers let the state Earned Income Tax Credit expire at the end of 2013, making North Carolina the first state in nearly 30 years to eliminate this proven anti-poverty tool. The state EITC helps promote shared economic prosperity for all North Carolinians. It goes only to working people with modest incomes, offering extra support to pay for basic necessities.

In a new video from the series “North Carolina: First in Flight from the EITC,” Heather Partridge talks about how the state EITC has helped her family. Heather lives with her husband and three daughters in Gibsonville, where she works at Hardee’s and earns $7.55 an hour – just barely above the state minimum wage of $7.25. In past years, the EITC has helped Heather pay for everyday goods for her children as well as pay off debt.  Read More


In case you missed it, Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals — a conservative Reagan appointee who has frequently vexed progressive lawyers down through the years — said the following yesterday in what Esquire’s Charles Pierce aptly describes as (among other amusing characterizations) a “remarkably plain-spoken” ruling in favor of marriage equality:

“Heterosexuals get drunk and pregnant, producing unwanted children; their reward is to be allowed to marry. Homosexual couples do not produce unwanted children; their reward is to be denied the right to marry. Go figure.”

Click here to read the court’s ruling striking down Indiana and Wisconsin’s bans on same-sex marriage. Posner’s quote can be found on pages 19 and 20.


Art Pope officially departs the McCrory administration today, stepping down from the post of state budget director.

Last month, in announcing Pope’s decision to leave, Governor Pat McCrory called the budget director and former state lawmaker “an important voice and important mentor.”

Others outside the administration have suggested that the conservative donor had too much influence over state spending and policies advanced in the legislature.

Here’s how Pope’s influence has been portrayed by North Carolina’s best known editorial cartoonists:

NC Policy Watch’s John Cole:

The Charlotte Observer’s Kevin Siers:

The Raleigh News & Observer’s Dwayne Powell:

Succeeding Pope will be Lee Roberts, a Raleigh banking executive Governor McCrory appointed to the North Carolina Banking Commission last year.