Issa, Cummings request delay in mortgage settlement

The leaders of the House Oversight Committee have asked federal regulators to postpone a multibillion mortgage settlement until the lawmakers can review the details.

Behind the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, finance regulators are reportedly nearing a deal with the nation's largest banks to settle homeowner claims of lender malfeasance surrounding the collapse of the housing market.

But in a Friday letter to those regulators, Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said they want to know more about the deal before it's finalized.

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"We would like more information about how the potential settlement amount is to be determined in light of potential wrongdoing identified to date, how such aid may be distributed and in what form, and what may happen to homeowner files that are still awaiting review," the lawmakers wrote to Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Issa and Cummings have requested "a staff briefing prior to the conclusion of the reported settlement agreement," which could be announced as early as Monday.

The letter arrives amid reports that federal regulators are set to abandon an effort – the so-called Independent Foreclosure Review process – that was launched in 2011 in response to findings that banks had adopted wide-scale abusive practices in their mortgage-servicing and foreclosure dealings. The Independent Foreclosure Review was designed to identify and compensate the homeowners who suffered as a result of the improper conduct.

Numerous reports indicate regulators are ready to scrap that process in favor of flat penalties levied against 14 large mortgage servicers. Totaling roughly $10 billion, those penalties would hit some of the nation's largest banks, including Wells Fargo & Co., Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase & Co., the reports say.