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Opposed by powerful business and finance groups, key mortgage reform bills sponsored by Attorney General Kamala Harris are headed for a joint legislative conference committee.

The six-member conference committee will consist of two Democrats and one Republican from each house, according to multiple legislative aides who had been notified of the plan.

The maneuver would be a way to discuss amendments and move the legislation, considered lynchpins of Harris' mortgage reform plan, to the Assembly and Senate floors without a vote by finance committees.

The Assembly Banking and Finance Committee, apparently split on the measures, opted to delay action on them Monday.

Assembly Speaker John A.Pérez, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Attorney General Kamala Harris, through aides, declined to comment Wednesday on formation of a conference committee.

Supporters say that the controversial mortgage measures would apply to California lenders the terms of consumer protections recently accepted by five major banks to settle a high-profile lawsuit by Harris and other state attorney generals.

One of the bills would prohibit lenders from foreclosing on a property and negotiating a loan modification on it at the same time. Critics call the problem "dual tracking."

The other proposal is designed to crack down on "robo signings" stemming from loose loan-documentation standards. The bill mandates that mortgage companies establish a single contact for property owners going through a loan restructuring or foreclosure.

Opponents include the California Chamber of Commerce and the banking and mortgage industries. Critics say the legislation would slow down an already cumbersome mortgage foreclosure process, thus hurting economic recovery.


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