If you can’t ignore ‘em, join ‘em.
That appears to describe Alabama attorney general Troy King’s take on the push by his national peers to hold banks accountable for botched foreclosures and mishandled legal documents.
King’s office said Wednesday afternoon it would join the attorneys general in 49 other states and press for investigations of possible wrongdoing by employees of giant lenders and mortgage servicers including Bank of America
, JPMorgan Chase
, Wells Fargo
and taxpayer-funded Ally Bank.
The investigation is emerging as a major headache for the banks, with JPMorgan on Wednesday adding $1.3 billion to its legal reserves and CEO Jamie Dimon admitting the bank could end up paying penalties to settle the AG probes.
Alabama’s shift is noteworthy because the National Association of Attorneys General earlier put out a statement announcing a national effort to pursue any mortgage-processing wrongdoing by the banks.
The attorneys general pointed to evidence that banks had foreclosure affidavits signed by people who hadn’t reviewed the actual loan files, and had affidavits signed outside the presence of notaries. Both are contrary to state law, the attorneys general said.
“Through this process, the states will attempt to speak with one voice to the greatest extent possible,” the group, headed by North Carolina attorney general Roy Cooper, said. “At the end of this statement is a list of the participating states.”
There were, it turns out, 49 states – all but Alabama. So why wasn’t King on board?
His office wouldn’t say, but it later released a press statement that suggests he remains unconvinced that any laws have been broken.
That’s not exactly inspiring, but it’s better late than never.