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BLOOMBERG: 50 State AG’s Ready To Settle Foreclosure Fraud, Not Criminal

BLOOMBERG: 50 State AG’s Ready To Settle Foreclosure Fraud, Not Criminal

Foreclosure Deals to Start With Big Lenders, Iowa Says

By Margaret Cronin Fisk and Prashant Gopal – Jan 3, 2011 6:08 PM ET

The 50 state attorneys general probing U.S. foreclosure practices will first settle with the five largest loan servicers, including Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said.

No settlements have been reached yet, Miller said in a telephone interview today. The other three are Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and Ally Financial Inc., said Miller, the leader of the 50-state investigation. The five have 59 percent of the market, Miller said.

“What we’re looking at is five separate agreements with the five largest servicers,” Miller said. “We’re still a ways away” from reaching agreements, he said. “We’re working very hard to figure out what should be in the settlement.”

All 50 U.S. states are investigating whether banks and loan servicers used false documents and signatures to justify hundreds of thousands of foreclosures. The probe, announced Oct. 13, came after JPMorgan and Ally Financial’s GMAC mortgage unit said they would stop repossessions in 23 states where courts supervise home seizures, and Bank of America, the largest U.S. lender, froze foreclosures nationwide.

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