Delaware officials wrestle over mortgage deal

(Reuters) – Delaware stands to leave up to $40 million in homeowner relief on the table, if it does not join a multi-state mortgage settlement, according to a letter from the state’s banking commissioner seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

In a sign of internal strife as holdout states decide whether to join the settlement, Delaware banking commissioner has come out in support of the deal, while the state’s attorney general remains on the sidelines, for now.

Delaware homeowners would receive some $32 million in relief, and the state would receive $8 million to provide housing counseling and foreclosure prevention services, according to the letter.

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, who is the son of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, has said he has been opposed to the settlement as it is drafted, and wants to make sure he can preserve his lawsuit against MERS, the banks’ mortgage electronic registry, which he filed last year.

MERS is not a party to the settlement, but the proposed deal is expected in part to resolve claims against the banks for their use of MERS.

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