Mass. petitions from lenders for foreclosures dropped about 7% in September (compared to a year ago), the Boston Globe reports today, but it’s not clear if the drop was influenced by the halting of foreclosures by big banks. Big lenders began suspending foreclosures in early October as it became clear federal and state authorities were gearing up to investigate bank practices. How much that affected September events, however, is unknown.

In related news, it increasingly looks like the Obama administration has a cure to “foreclosure-gate” – big fines on big banks. Yesterday the secretary of housing and urban development talked to the press and telegraphed their “big fine” message.

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