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Obama Wants Schneiderman to Back Off Banks: Report

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Obama Administration has put "increasing pressure" on New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to agree to a broad state settlement with banks over questionable foreclosure tactics, The New York Times reported Monday.

Shaun Donovan, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development and "high-level Justice Department officials" have been among those behind the lobbying offensive, according to the newspaper. Attorneys general in all 50 states are seeking redress for foreclosure-related abuses including robo-signing and using submitting false documents to courts. Reports surfaced several months ago over a settlement as large as $20 billion, a figure at which banks are widely said to have balked.

However, as the banks, which include Bank of America (BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Citigroup (C) and Ally Financial (symbol) have sought immunity from further penalties, attorneys general from New York, Nevada, Delaware Massachussetts and possibly other states, have expressed doubts of their own about settling.

Schneiderman, for example, is attempting to block a proposed $8.5 billion settlement between Bank of America and 22 large institutions over mortgage backed securities (MBS) it sold them. The investors say the mortgages in the MBS didn't live up to the initial terms of the contract. Schneiderman, however, claims the settlement went too easy on the banks.

He argues Bank of New York Mellon (BK) --the trustee representing the investor group--had a financial incentive to go easy on Bank of America. BNY Mellon vigorously disputed that charge, and recently filed court papers seeking to prevent Schneiderman from intervening in the case.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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