The big five lenders involved in the national mortgage settlement saw their combined notice of default filings (NOD) and notices of trustee sale (NTS) decline 41% when comparing November filings to a year earlier, RealtyTrac said Thursday.

The Irvine, Calif.-based foreclosure data firm considers NOD and NTS notices as reflective of all pre-foreclosure activity. When breaking out pre-foreclosure activity initiated by the big banks in nonjudicial foreclosure states last month, Bank of America (BAC) pre-foreclosure filings are down 63% from a year ago.  The mega bank was followed by Citi (C), which saw its own pre-foreclosure activity levels drop 40% annually last month.

But when surveying pre-foreclosure filings in judicial states for the five big lenders – including Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Ally – pre-foreclosure filings are up 26% from a year ago.

The difference between the two types of jurisdictions (judicial versus nonjudicial) is in line with the estimations of real estate analysts who believe excessive backlogs and regulations within judicial foreclosure states are holding up the process of clearing distressed real estate.

Chase and Wells Fargo seemed the most impacted by an increase in pre-foreclosure activity in judicial states with Chase seeing a 114% increase in lis pendens and notice of foreclosure sale filings, while Wells Fargo saw activity levels jump 37%.

Nationally, foreclosure filings fell 3% from October to November and 19% from last year, RealtyTrac said. The nation reported 180,817 properties as being in some state of foreclosure, making it the 26th consecutive month featuring an annual drop in foreclosure activity.

"The drop in overall foreclosure activity in November was caused largely by a 71-month low in foreclosure starts for the month, more evidence that we are past the worst of the foreclosure problem brought about by the housing bubble bursting six years ago," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “We’re likely not completely out of the woods when it comes to foreclosure starts, either, as lenders are still adjusting to new foreclosure ground rules set forth in the National Mortgage Settlement along with various state laws and court rulings."

U.S. bank repossessions grew 11% from October and 5% from last year.