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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Fighting against the big banks
Al D'Amato

New York state’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, is making national news regarding his opposition to a nationwide $20 billion foreclosure settlement involving some of the largest banks over questionable foreclosure practices and mortgage abuses.

While I didn’t support Schneiderman in the 2010 election, he deserves to be applauded for standing up to the big banks and some of the questionable practices that have attributed to America’s economic downturn.

Last Oct. 13, the attorneys general from all 50 states announced that they would join forces to investigate the bank foreclosure practices after there were several reports of faulty documents being used in the seizure of homes. Thirteen of the attorneys general serve on an executive committee, working with the Department of Justice and various other federal agencies to negotiate a settlement with the five largest mortgage servicers in the United States: Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Ally Financial.

Shaun Donovan, the secretary of housing and urban development, and other members of the Obama administration have been pressuring Schneiderman to go along with and support the settlement. It has been an intense campaign to change our attorney general’s mind.

Schneiderman has held his ground, and throughout the negotiations maintained the belief that the proposed $20 billion, which would mostly be designated to pay for loan modifications instead of going directly to Americans who were harmed by the banks’ practices, was not enough money. Also, if the banks and executive committee reached an agreement, it would prevent any further litigation or investigations against the large banks.

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