Banks agree to help struggling homeowners

Californians who are struggling to stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure are about to get a leg up. State Attorney General Kamala D. Harris on Thursday announced a settlement with banks over abusive foreclosure practices. The agreement could funnel as much as $18 billion to hard-hit homeowners.

California secured the money as part of a larger $25 billion multistate settlement to penalize robo-signing and other bank servicing and foreclosure misconduct. California pulled away from an earlier proposal that would have netted the state only $4 billion.

Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial will reduce loans for nearly 1 million households across the country. Checks for $2,000 will be sent to about 750,000 Americans who were improperly foreclosed upon.

Read more in Kevin Smith’s story BANKS.

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