AG Cooper, Phil Lehman honored for work on mortgage settlement
Release date: 6/25/2012
Awards presented by National Association of Attorneys General
Anchorage, AK: Attorney General Roy Cooper and Assistant Attorney General Phil Lehman received national awards last week for their work negotiating a landmark settlement that helped lower mortgage payments for struggling homeowners, set new rules to prevent improper foreclosures, and provided an economic boost to North Carolina.
The National Association of Attorneys General presented the awards at its annual summer meeting in recognition of Cooper and Lehman’s work hammering out the settlement with the country’s five largest mortgage loan servicers. Lehman received the Attorney General Staff Member of the Year Award, and Cooper was awarded a special president’s award.
“Countless borrowers who were victimized by irresponsible mortgage practices will get relief as a result of this historic settlement, which could not have been achieved without the hard work of Attorney General Cooper and Assistant Attorney General Lehman,” said Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, the newly-elected president of the National Association of Attorneys General. “I congratulate AG Cooper and Mr. Lehman for this well-deserved award, and extend my gratitude to the many other people from across the country who helped us begin to bring lasting reform to the mortgage industry.”
Cooper, 48 other state attorneys general and the federal government reached the agreement worth up to $37 billion with Bank of America Corporation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Company, Citigroup, Inc., and Ally Financial, Inc. (formerly GMAC) in February. North Carolina’s share of the settlement totals $338 million to help homeowners facing foreclosure and provide more housing counselors, financial fraud investigators and prosecutors.
Cooper has served as North Carolina’s Attorney General since 2001. He has a long history of protecting consumers and has fought foreclosure relief scams and eliminated payday lenders from North Carolina. As a state senator, he helped write North Carolina’s law against predatory mortgage lending, which spurred more than 30 other states to enact their own laws against predatory lending.
Lehman has worked in the Consumer Protection Division of the North Carolina Attorney General’s office for 24 years and is an expert in financial lending, credit, homeownership and consumer finance. He was an original member of the State Foreclosure Prevention Working Group, which began working in mid-2007, and was a very valuable member of the small team that negotiated the national mortgage settlement.
He previously helped resolve major lending cases such as Household and the Associates, and worked with Cooper to end payday lending in North Carolina. He also worked with then state senator Cooper to enact North Carolina’s predatory lending law. As Cooper puts it, “there were a lot of legislative meetings that had dozens of bankers and lobbyists on one side, Phil and I on the other.”
Lehman graduated from Harvard and law school at Catholic University and also served as an officer in the US Navy. Prior to joining the Attorney General’s Office, he worked at North Carolina Legal Aid for 10 years, where he also focused on consumer protection.
North Carolina Assistant Attorney General Phil Lehman (left) receives national Staff Member of the Year Award from NAAG President and Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler.
Media contacts: Noelle Talley (919) 716-6413