Transcript: Colorado AG John Suthers’ remarks on the $25 billion mortgage settlement


Colorado Attorney General John Suthers on the $25 billion multi-state mortgage settlement. SOURCE:

Remarks by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers on the $25 billion housing settlement with the nation’s 5 largest mortgage servicers:

“Ladies and gentlemen, there are presently 25 Democrat state Attorneys General and 25 Republican state Attorneys General.

“So the question comes how is it that 49 of those state Attorneys General came together to agree on this settlement? The answer is quite simple. The Attorneys General realized that this settlement is very, very much in the interest of their states and the citizens of their states.

“Why is that? States litigating with national banks pose some very significant litigation problems. Number one is federal preemption. While there’s been some clarification in case law and congressional legislation about that, it’s still a murky world and we would be litigating some of those issues for at least the next five years.

“Number two. All of us have very disparate consumer protection laws. Some of us like my state have relatively small limits on the amount of money that can be recovered for Consumer Protection Act violations that we would be proceeding under. So when all these Attorneys General look at this settlement as it’s structured they realized the bottom-line was there’s no way that without the federal partnership in this case could we achieve the results that we have achieved.

“The notion, for example, of the states being able to impose servicing standards on a national bank – that wouldn’t have happened.

“The notion of being able to utilize a monitor – that could not happen without the partnership between the states and the federal government.

“So the bottom-line is they entered into this agreement because it’s in their interest and the interest of their citizens.

“I want to say just a word – I’m not quite as old as Tom Miller. I may look older than Tom Miller, but I’m not quite as old as Tom Miller. But I have been practicing law for 35 years, and the vast majority of that I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of serving as an elected District Attorney, as a United States Attorney, and now as the Attorney General. I’ve been involved in a lot of joint federal-state task forces, investigations, and whatever. Like Tom, I can tell you some horror stories.

“The conclusion I came to many years ago that so many of these – unfortunately but inevitably – are personality driven. And the fact of the matter is we had the incredible fortune of having this joint federal-state partnership driven by two people in the federal government that I have never seen anything like it. The extent to which Tom Perrelli and Shaun Donovan, as I said, didn’t do any of that fed stuff that we states see so often, they did in fact treat us as equal partners.

“And frankly, if I were them, I would have given up on us a long time ago. I mean, it was brutal. First of all, the Republicans were off this way. Then the Democrats were off this way. But with their patience, they brought this thing together, and I can’t say enough about the perseverance and dedication that they’ve shown. So on behalf of my Attorneys General colleagues, I’m very proud to be up here today announcing what I see is an incredible example of federal-state cooperation.”



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