SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California and Nevada, which suffer the highest foreclosure rates in the country, will team up to investigate whether the nation’s largest banks used abusive mortgage practices.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris joined Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto in Los Angeles on Tuesday to announce the alliance, saying it will speed along dual investigations in the states, both among the nation’s hardest hit by the mortgage crisis.

“The mortgage crisis is a manmade disaster that has taken a heavy toll on the country, but it saved its worst for California and Nevada,” said Harris. “The mortgage crisis is a law-enforcement matter, and we will prosecute to hold accountable those who are responsible.”

The deal comes as the two states pulled out of nationwide settlement talks with the banks and have aggressively pursued independent investigations into the practice known as robo-signing, in which banks and mortgages servicers were accused of rubber-stamping foreclosures without actually reviewing
homeowners’ documents.

Harris has subpoenaed some of the nation’s largest financial institutions, such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bank of America and Lender Processing Services.

Last December, Masto sued Bank of America for violating a  loan modification agreement with the state over predatory lending policies by its Countrywide unit.