Banks not free of foreclosure crisis

Feb. 10, 2012 at 2:18 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Officials and industry observers said U.S. banks are not free and clear from foreclosure problems despite a $25 billion settlement announced Thursday.

"Banks are not going to see the bright sunlight for some time to come," said securities law professor James Cox of Duke University.

The Los Angeles Times reported Friday the settlement with 49 states restricts some future lawsuits, but not all of them.

Several states, including New York and California, were unwilling to sign early versions of the settlement due to the leniency granted banks regarding future lawsuits.

The final version does not include criminal immunity or prevent private lawsuits from being filed. Fraud claims are still open to lawsuits and this could involve claims having to do with bundled mortgage-backed securities that were at the heart of the financial crisis, the newspaper said.

Wells Fargo & Co. Chief Financial Officer Timothy Sloan said the settlement was "good for the country, good for our customers and good for our shareholders," although Occupy Wall Street protestors and authorities clashed in Los Angeles with protestors saying the $25 billion total fell far short of the damage done to the economy.

After the deal was struck, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, "On multiple fronts, we will continue to investigate the mortgage crisis that has impacted communities in every corner of this state."

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