Report: Iowa AG trying to get Calif. to rejoin bank talks

Jessica M. Karmasek Nov. 30, 2011, 11:00am



DES MOINES, Iowa (Legal Newsline) - Sources say Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who is heading up the ongoing talks with banks over their mortgage foreclosure practices, is trying to convince California Attorney General Kamala Harris to return to the negotiating table.

Harris backed out of the talks with top mortgage servicers Wells Fargo & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Ally Financial Inc. and Bank of America in September.

In a letter to Associate U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perrelli and Miller, she called the rumored $20 billion deal "inadequate" for homeowners, saying it provided too much protection for financial institutions.

"After much consideration, I have concluded that this is not the deal California homeowners have been waiting for," Harris wrote at the time.

"(The) relief contemplated would allow too few California homeowners to stay in their homes."

According to Fox Business, Miller attended a nationwide attorneys general conference in San Antonio, Texas, with Harris Tuesday.

Sources told Fox the Iowa attorney general would be updating Harris on the negotiations but also would plead his case as to why Harris should rejoin the settlement.

Negotiations with the banks have been going on for more than a year. The probe began last October with inquiries into so-called "robosigning" practices by several mortgage companies, and has since broadened into identifying and addressing additional alleged improper foreclosure practices.

But without California, the deal cannot proceed.

The banks have said not having California as part of the settlement wouldn't work because the bulk of the foreclosures took place there.

Harris' office would not comment on the matter.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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