Published November 29, 2011
The impasse over the nationwide mortgage foreclosure settlement continues, but could a meeting Tuesday provide the much needed breakthrough that brings the California Attorney General into the settlement and paves the way for a deal?
Some people close the negotiations say yes. That is because California Attorney General Kamala Harris will be attending a meeting with Iowa’s Attorney General, Tom Miller, who is leading the negotiations with the banks over faulty mortgage foreclosures and who is likely to press Harris to join the broader group.
California has been the biggest obstacle for the leader of the group of state AGs handling the settlement talks with Wall Street banks. But Miller will be attending a conference with Harris at a nationwide AG conference in San Antonio, Texas. At the National Association of Attorneys General conference, Miller will give an update on the state of the negotiations between the banks and state AGs Tuesday.
Sources tell the FOX Business Network that he also plans to discuss with Harris why she should join the broader settlement. A spokesman for Miller would not deny the matter and Harris’s spokesman did not return phone calls or e-mail requests.
Negotiations between the banks and state AGs have been going on for more than a year. One of the impediments is California not agreeing to a nationwide settlement; banks have said that not having California in on the settlement would not work because so many of the foreclosures took place there.
California, however, does have the option to come back into the deal once it is negotiated between the states and banks, according the Miller’s spokesperson, Geoff Greenwood. Harris left the nationwide settlement talks in late September after calling the deal "inadequate."
California has the highest number of mortgage foreclosures in the country, with over 55,000 homes receiving foreclosure notices, or one out of every 243 housing units, according to RealtyTrac. Press reports recently said that state AGs and banks will do a deal without California that would carry a value of approximately $18 billion, but the final number is uncertain. With California included in the deal, reports say that the value of the settlement could be as high as $25 billion.
The negotiations between states, federal official and state attorneys general and the five banks in the negotiations focus on the alleged “robo-signing” used by the country’s five largest mortgage providers: JPMorgan (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), Wells Fargo (WFC) and Ally Financial.