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State's attorney general wants mortgage-protection laws for homeowners

SACRAMENTO — California's attorney general is seeking to build on a recent nationwide bank settlement over home foreclosures by lobbying state lawmakers to advance a package of mortgage-protection bills, which faces critical tests in legislative committees this week.

The proposals by Attorney General Kamala Harris would provide additional safeguards for homeowners while giving her office more freedom to investigate financial crimes.

Harris, a Democrat, has made combating mortgage fraud and protecting homeowners a centerpiece of her 16 months in office. She was instrumental in negotiating a settlement with the nation's top five banks in February that will bring $18 billion in relief to California, one of the states hardest hit by the mortgage crisis.

More than 500,000 Californians have lost their homes to foreclosure since 2008, more than in any other state.

Her 11-bill package would ban some of the worst practices that contributed to the housing crisis. It would write the terms of the national agreement into state law and apply them to every lender.


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