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BofA Correspondent Closing Impacts Mostly Countrywide Employees

No buyer found for correspondent lending division

Oct. 4, 2011

By staff

No buyer was found for Bank of America Home Loans' correspondent lending division, and the unit will be shut down. Many of the more than 1,000 employees who are impacted by the closure were employees of Countrywide Home Loans.

Parent Bank of America Corp. disclosed in August its plans to sell or close the correspondent mortgage lending division.

The unit generates around half of the company's overall mortgage originations -- which amounted to around $100 billion during the first half of this year.

Published reports indicated that Fortress Investment Group LLC subsidiary Nationstar Mortgage LLC had been performing due diligence in connection with a possible bid, but that deal apparently fell apart.

BofA spokesman Terry Francisco confirmed in a telephone interview that the company was unable to find a buyer for the correspondent lending business.

Correspondent customers have been notified that they have until Oct. 31 to lock in new business. The last day to fund correspondent loans will be on Dec. 15.

"We only have a certain amount of capital that we can devote toward the mortgage business according to the upcoming Basel III rules, and so therefore, in a capital-constrained environment, you need to pick and choose where you want to focus your originations efforts," Francisco explained of the decision to get out of correspondent lending. "And we believe that it's better for our long-term future to focus in on our retail channels where people are selecting the Bank of America brand."

Francisco said that 1,200 employees are impacted by the move. The employees are mostly located in Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village, Calif.; Tampa, Fla.; and Plano, Texas. He noted that the biggest concentration is in California.

The company hopes to re-deploy "many of those 1,200 associates."

While BofA had just a "very small" correspondent unit prior to its 2008 acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp., the bulk of the impacted employees were inherited through the merger.

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