Timeline of events of nationwide mortgage deal

AP News
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Posted: Feb 09, 2012 4:34 PM
Timeline of events of nationwide mortgage deal

On Thursday, 49 states reached a $25 billion deal with the nation's biggest mortgage lenders over foreclosure abuses that occurred after the housing bubble burst.

Here's a timeline of the notable events leading up to the agreement:

October 2010 _ JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Ally Financial, PNC Financial and an arm of Goldman Sachs temporarily suspend foreclosures after evidence surfaces that their employees or outside lawyers signed foreclosure documents without reading them or filed inaccurate paperwork. Federal and state regulators being investigating the mortgage lenders.

November 2010 _ The Congressional Oversight Panel says in a report that lawsuits over the flawed foreclosure documents could cost banks billions of dollars, disrupt federal programs aimed at keeping people in their homes and further weaken the housing market.

December 2010 _ Courts in several states, including California, Arizona and New York, invalidate mortgages and block banks from foreclosing on homes.

January 2011 _ Homeowners across the U.S. begin filing class action lawsuits against major banks, accusing banks of illegally foreclosing on them with faulty documents.

March 2011 _ David Stern's law firm in Plantation Fla., which at one point handled tens of thousands of foreclosures each year, shuts down amid an investigation into robo-signing and other questionable practices.

April 2011 _ The federal government orders 16 of the nation's largest mortgage lenders and servicers to reimburse homeowners who were improperly foreclosed on. Government regulators also direct the financial firms to hire auditors to determine how many homeowners could have avoided foreclosure in 2009 and 2010.

July 2011 _ County officials in Massachusetts, North Carolina and Michigan say they have received thousands of mortgage documents with questionable signatures since the fall of 2010, suggesting robo-signing is still widespread. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley says she will not sign any settlement that releases the banks from future mortgage-related lawsuits.

August 2011 _ New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is removed from a top role in negotiations with banks after being accused by the states' lead negotiator of trying to "undermine" the settlement. Schneiderman subsequently says he won't sign a deal.

September 2011 _ California Attorney General Kamala Harris says she will not agree to a settlement in which bank officials receive legal immunity. Counties across the United States discover that illegal or questionable mortgage paperwork taints tens of thousands of property deeds dating back to 1998.

November 2011 _ Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto's office indicts two Las Vegas title officers on charges of directing a massive robo-signing scheme involving tens of thousands of fraudulent foreclosure documents. Nevada has led the nation in foreclosures.

December 2011 _ Massachusetts sues five major banks over deceptive foreclosure practices.

January 2012 _ The nation's five largest mortgage lenders agree to reduce mortgages for nearly 1 million homeowners as part of a proposed settlement with states. California and Delaware officials refuse to sign the deal. New York doesn't object outright. Schneiderman is asked to lead a federal task force investigating the mortgage-backed securities that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis.

February 2012 _ Forty-nine states agree to a $25 billion deal with the nation's five largest mortgage lenders. Under the agreement, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial will reduce loans for nearly 1 million households that owe more than their homes are worth. They will also send checks of $2,000 to about 750,000 Americans who were improperly foreclosed upon. The banks will have three years to fulfill the terms of the deal. Oklahoma reaches its own agreement with lenders.