California Attorney General Kamala Harris is expected to join a multi-state settlement with the top five mortgage servicers and New York's AG could soon follow, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.
New York AG Eric Schneiderman and Harris have been the two biggest hold outs on the proposed settlement, which had the backing of more than 40 states as of a Monday night deadline. According to two sources, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the deal, Harris is now prepared to sign on.
New York, meanwhile, appears increasingly likely to join the settlement, according to the sources.
Officially, at least, nothing has changed.
A spokesman for Harris said her position has not altered since Sunday, when she issued a statement saying, "We are closer now than we've been before, but we're not there yet."
Media reports surfaced Monday that Harris, who withdrew from negotiations in September, had come back to the table and was in direct talks with the Obama administration over the final details.
A spokesman for Schneiderman did not respond to a request seeking comment. The New York AG had planned to make a statement about the settlement Tuesday night, but at the last minute he postponed the conference call indefinitely without any explanation.
Schneiderman and Harris have been two of the most vocal critics of the proposed settlement terms, which they criticized as too lenient toward banks. They also called for more comprehensive investigations of servicer conduct, and resisted terms that might preclude future lawsuits related to mortgage origination and securitization.
Observers said Schneiderman's appointment to lead a new Justice Department working group investigating mortgage securitization could bring him back to the negotiating table, and provide political cover for other hold-outs.
The final settlement amount, which could total roughly $25 billion, depends on exactly which states join the deal. Several other critical states, including Nevada, Delaware and Massachusetts, have declined to offer their support.
A spokeswoman for Nevada AG Catherine Cortez Masto said Wednesday that she "continues to review the terms of the settlement and has not yet decided one way or another if she will opt in or opt out."
A spokesman for Delaware AG Beau Biden said in a statement issued Monday that he continues to review the deal.
"Attorney General Biden continues to consider the terms of the settlement and advocate for improvements that address his concerns," the statement said. "Delaware's timeline for agreeing to the settlement is dictated by whether our concerns are met."
A spokesman for Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley declined to comment.
The deal includes $17 billion in direct relief for borrowers, $3 billion for a refinancing program for underwater borrowers and $5 billion to be distributed by the states and federal government for foreclosure-related initiatives.