Among the strongest industry rationales for a national mortgage servicing settlement was that it would break the legal stalemate over a huge backlog of delinquent loans. Banks would give principal writedowns to eligible borrowers and confidently foreclose on the rest, allowing the housing market to move on.

Five months after the deal was formally struck, the promised spike in foreclosures hasn't arrived. For most of that time, activity slipped even further. The promised flow of foreclosures and other loan resolutions may still be on its way, but there's little evidence of an abrupt upswing.

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