|Bank of America Corp., which dropped its mortgage broker operation in 2007 then re-entered the business with last year's acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp., is cleaning house at the unit.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based financial institution closed its wholesale lending channel in December 2007 and "made a strategic decision to focus on retail mortgages," a letter at the time said. The operation had accounted for nearly one-third of mortgage originations.
But just seven months later, BoA would inherit the broker business of Countrywide with its July 1 acquisition of the formerly biggest U.S. residential lender.
Even before the acquisition, however, Countrywide had begun cutting the number of brokers it was dealing with.
A spokeswoman told MortgageDaily.com in a statement Thursday that the wholesale unit has been scaling back on its approved broker base for more than 18 months. The brokers targeted for termination are those whose performance indicators lag.
"We regularly review a wide range of quality and productivity metrics for brokers doing business with us and, as part of our normal course of business, cease working relationships with brokers who do not meet our standards," she said.
She noted that the company still supports its 5,000 approved mortgage brokers.
"Our focus remains constant -- working with and supporting those mortgage brokers who demonstrate the ability and willingness to adapt and evolve their business model and who originate quality loans consistent with our responsible lending standards," the statement said.
But some of the reduction might be attributable to attrition.
A report from Goldline Research indicated that the number of U.S. mortgage brokers has dropped off sharply, falling from 55,000 in 2007 to just 20,000 as of February.