Some investors are wary about the $8.5 billion Bank of America agreed to pay in the MBS-related settlement it worked out with 22 large money managers, but if approved the bank will be giving up more than a one-time cash payout. The settlement imposes requirements on the servicer that appear likely to portend long-term and much broader benefits for investors.

"What's come out of this settlement could potentially set the groundwork for the regulation that's eventually going to come out for regulating all servicers," said Barbara Chell, a principal at C&A Consulting and formerly chief operating officer for the residential mortgage groups at Credit Suisse and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.

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