States With Highest Foreclosure Rates Among Bank Deal Holdouts

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) — California, New York, Nevada, Florida and Massachusetts are among the handful of states that haven’t signed a deal with banks over foreclosure abuses, according to state officials and two people familiar with the talks.

The holdouts include some with the highest rates of foreclosures. More than 6 percent of Nevada housing units had at least one foreclosure filing in 2011, giving it the nation’s highest foreclosure rate, according to RealtyTrac. California registered the third highest rate in 2011 with one in every 31 units having at least one foreclosure filing during the year, said the firm, which tracks foreclosures.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who have been some of the most outspoken in pushing for changes to the deal, were among those who hadn’t joined as of yesterday’s deadline. More than 40 states signed on to the accord, according to Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who is helping to lead talks with the banks.

“Adding more numbers probably improves the political dimension of the settlement from the standpoint of the attorneys general,” said Ken Scott, a Stanford University law professor. “If you can say there were only a handful of diehards that didn’t sign on, that gives you some political protection.”

State Probe

All 50 states announced almost 16 months ago they were investigating bank foreclosure practices following disclosures that faulty documents were being used to seize homes. Officials from a group of state attorneys general offices and federal agencies, including the Justice Department, have since negotiated terms of a proposed settlement with five banks that is said to be worth as much as $25 billion.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi haven’t signed on as of today, said the two people, who declined to be identified because the matter isn’t public. Delaware and Nevada also hadn’t agreed to the settlement as of yesterday, according to their offices.

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