A nearly two-year review of foreclosure abuses ended this month with $9 billion of settlements, but it hardly ruffled bank earnings.
In fourth quarter reports, some of the nation's biggest lenders said that savings from firing consultants doing the reviews would largely cancel out the cost of direct compensation to borrowers. Existing reserves absorbed costs from other pledged assistance, like mortgage modifications and forgiveness of deficiency judgments. (The first tab in the following graphic compares annualized estimates of the costs of the foreclosure reviews and direct payments to borrowers. The second tab shows total settlement amounts and the number of mortgages under review. Interactive controls are described in the captions. Text continues below.)