``Neil Brazil, a spokesman for HSBC North America, said in an e-mail that the London-based bank has had "preliminary discussions with its bank regulators and other governmental agencies," and that "the timing of any settlement is not presently known."

State attorneys general, led by Tom Miller, a Democrat from Iowa, began an investigation into the mortgage servicing industry in October 2010 after reports that practices including "robo-signing" had led to improper foreclosures. The probe led to a settlement in February among the five largest servicers -- JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Ally Financial Inc. -- and 49 states and the federal government.''

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