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HSBC put thousands of homeowners at greater risk of losing their properties, Eric Schneiderman New York attorney-general, claimed on Tuesday in a lawsuit against the bank.

The legal action, which is to be unveiled on Tuesday at a press conference in Buffalo, New York, accuses HSBC of illegally ignoring a state law designed to initiate talks between homeowners and banks and resolve foreclosure cases.

The state found that HSBC often failed to file the required paperwork in hundreds of foreclosure cases – which would have triggered a settlement – and continued to charge interest and fees. In some cases, the bank is accused of putting off the document filing for more than two years.

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