WASHINGTON — Foreclosures initiated by federally chartered banks and thrifts fell to a four-year low last quarter, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said Wednesday.

The OCC's Mortgage Metrics report said large institutions under the agency's watch started the foreclosure process in 156,773 cases during the last three months of 2012, the lowest level since early 2008, the onset of the mortgage meltdown. Completed foreclosures fell nearly 9% from a year earlier to 105,875.

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