The head of the U.S. Federal Reserve says banking regulators are looking "intensively" at reported irregularities in the wave of foreclosures in the troubled housing market.
In a speech Monday, Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed takes violations of procedures and laws "seriously" and he expects preliminary results next month.
His comments follow allegations that banks and mortgage companies used improper or even fraudulent documents to reposess homes from buyers who fell behind on their payments.
Top legal officials and regulators from all 50 U.S. states are already investigating the matter.
High unemployment is one reason millions of homeowners are having trouble making their mortgage payments.
A survey by the National Association of Business Economists says fewer companies are expected to cut jobs over the next six months.
The NABE also says improving sales and profits mean businesses will boost investment in equipment in the next year, which could eventually boost employment.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.