Foreclosure Fraud May Cost Big Banks $20 Billion

Foreclosure settlement
Foreclosure settlement

The nation's largest mortgage companies are operating on the assumption that they will have to pay as much as $20 billion to resolve claims of widespread foreclosure abuse, an amount four times what they originally had proposed, the top federal official overseeing the discussions told state officials Monday, according to people who participated in the conversation.

Associate U.S. Attorney General Tom Perrelli told a bipartisan group of state attorneys general during a conference call that he believes the banks have accepted the realization that a wide-ranging settlement to the months-long probes will cost them much more than the $5 billion offer they floated last month, according to officials with direct knowledge of the call. Perrelli said he's basing his belief on his recent conversations with representatives of the five targeted firms: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial.