Bank of America Corp. has abandoned plans to let Countrywide Financial Corp.'s president run the combined mortgage unit following its planned acquisition of the lender and will instead appoint an insider to the post.
Barbara Desoer will become president of combined consumer real estate operations following the planned merger in September.
BoA had announced in January that Countrywide's current president and chief operating officer, David Sambol, would head the combined mortgage unit once the deal was done. Today's statement indicated will retire after assisting Desoer with the transition.
Ken Lewis, chairman and chief executive officer of the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank, cited the need to have an executive with a "deep understanding of the Bank of America culture and operating model" leading the mortgage operation. A successful mortgage unit will increase the bank's ability to cross-sell deposit and credit card services.
Desoer, who will report directly to Lewis, will run the unit from Calabasas, Calif., where Countrywide is based. She will head what is likely to be the biggest mortgage originator in the country, with production in the neighborhood of $450 billion a year. The combined mortgage servicing portfolio will be around $1.89 trillion -- the biggest of any residential servicer.
Desoer, 55, has been chief technology and operations officer and previously served as consumer products executive. She joined the bank in 1977 and previously held leadership roles in commercial lending, credit administration and retail banking.
"Barbara Desoer is an ideal person to lead our mortgage business forward," Lewis said in the announcement. "She previously operated a predecessor bank branch system in California and also previously headed Consumer Products (including mortgage) and Marketing at our company. She understands the challenges and has a demonstrated track record of getting results."
BoA Names New Chief for Mortgage Unit
Bank of America Corp. has announced a new leader for its mortgage operation once it completes its upcoming acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp.
BoA Agrees to Acquire Countrywide
The largest U.S. mortgage lender just got bigger.