Foreclosure deal still has holdouts

Jan. 24, 2012 at 1:05 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Holdouts disagreed with U.S. Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan, who said prosecutors were close to a deal with U.S. banks over their foreclosure practices.

After a meeting with 15 Democratic state attorneys general, Donovan declared a deal was "very close," The New York Times reported.

Donovan also reached out to Republican state attorneys general with a conference call. But holdouts remain, the Times reported Tuesday.

Some say the current deal is too soft. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, has said the settlement, worth about $25 billion, would allow banks to pass the cost of the deal onto "middle-class Americans," who have invested in mortgage securities through their pension plans.

Others, including state Attorneys General Martha Coakley of Massachusetts, Eric Schneiderman of New York and Kamala Harris of California, have said a deal is unacceptable if it closes the door to investigations into bank behavior surrounding the subprime mortgage crisis.

"Attorney General Harris has consistently and repeatedly expressed concern about protecting her ability to investigate wrongdoing in the mortgage arena, and that remains a key lens through which she will evaluate any proposals," a spokesman from her office said.

Details of the deal could change, but prosecutors are currently discussing a deal that would give about 1 million struggling homeowners a $20,000 cut off their mortgage contracts.

About $17 billion would be used to reduce principal on contracts for homeowners close to foreclosure.

Another pool of funds would be established for to compensate homeowners who have been hurt by illegal foreclosure practices. That would amount to about $1,800 per homeowner, covering about 750,000 families, the Times said.

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