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BoA Shifts Staff to Manage Activity Surge

HEL employees being shifted to mortgage fulfillment

December 22, 2008

By MortgageDaily.com staff

The biggest U.S. mortgage lender is shifting some of employees from home-equity lending to handle a surge in residential mortgage activity.

Like most U.S. mortgage lenders, Bank of America Corp. has seen new business climb as rates have recently tumbled.

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 5.19 percent in Freddie Mac's rate survey for the week ended Dec. 18 -- the lowest level on record since the survey began in 1971. The improvement in mortgage rates has helped push U.S. mortgage applications 120 percent higher than where they stood at the end of October, according to data reported by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Its acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp. on July 1 thrust BoA -- which reported $58.0 billion in third-quarter originations -- into the spot of the No. 1 residential lender. Its standing likely means its originators are seeing a bigger share of the current market activity than loan officers at competing lenders.

A BoA spokesman told MortgageDaily.com in a statement Friday that the Charlotte, N.C.-based institution is first looking inside the organization for staffing support.

"Job additions are not an immediate solution to help manage the increased volume," the statement said. "However, one example of how we are increasing capacity to ensure we meet customer demand from low rates and provide the best possible customer experience is by transferring associates from areas of the bank where we have excess capacity."

He noted that more than 300 home-equity employees from Virginia and Florida have been shifted to support heavier recent volume in mortgage fulfillment. Technology has enabled BoA to utilize these employees without moving them from their current locations.

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