Major banks pushed to complete an $8.5 billion legal settlement with federal regulators this past weekend so they could book the deal's costs in their fourth-quarter results and present a cleaner slate to investors in 2013, according to people familiar with the talks.

The timing of the settlement of alleged foreclosure abuses, announced Monday, allowed banks including () [stock BAC"> () JPM">, () (C) and () () to take advantage of so-called subsequent-events accounting.