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Schachtner defeats Jarchow in special election

Countrywide Financial settlement will aid some state homeowners

Almost 3,000 Wisconsinites won't need a government bailout to keep their homes from being foreclosed.

Countrywide Financial Corp., is settling a lawsuit by agreeing to reduce mortgage rates to its most vulnerable holders of sub-prime and adjustable-rate loans.

The national suit accused Countrywide of illegal marketing practices. Wisconsin is the 33rd state to reach a settlement.

"I am pleased that this agreement means eligible borrowers in Wisconsin will be able to stay in their homes and that other relief will be brought to the State of Wisconsin," said J.B. Van Hollen, state attorney general when announcing the settlement.

Bank of America bought Countrywide last year and it agreed to reduce rates for up to 400,000 borrowers, with savings of up to $8.4 billion.

Bank of America estimates that 2,900 Wisconsin homeowners will be eligible.

But assistant state attorney general Nelle Rohlich says it could be even more and the total savings in the Badger State will be more than $40 million.