Assembly OKs adding bank settlement into Calif law

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(AP) – State lawmakers have approved making California the first state to write into law much of the national mortgage settlement negotiated this year with the nation’s top five banks.

The bill sent to Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday would expand the protections to all lenders.

The measure negotiated by majority Democrats passed despite opposition from business and lending organizations. It requires large lenders to provide a single point of contact for homeowners who want to discuss loan modifications. It prohibits lenders from foreclosing while the lenders consider homeowners’ request for alternatives to foreclosure. And it would let homeowners sue lenders to stop foreclosures or seek monetary damages if the lender violates state law.

Many of the restrictions would become permanent, while those in the nationwide agreement end after five years.

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