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Countrywide Banned From Illinois Lending

State conditionally renews license

October 17, 2008

By MortgageDaily.com staff

Countrywide Home Loans Inc.'s ability to originate new loans in Illinois has been suspended -- at least temporarily. But the ban on new lending may be immaterial.

The state's Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said Thursday it issued a conditional license for one year to the Bank of America Corp. unit.

Under the conditional license, Countrywide will be able to meet its obligations under a settlement it reached this month with several states, including Illinois. That only includes the restructuring of loans to existing borrowers.

"The company will not be allowed to offer mortgages to new customers," the state said.

The regulator claims Countrywide has recently failed to meet the basic requirement of the Residential Loan Act, which requires that licensees "warrant belief that the business will be operated honestly, fairly, and efficiently."

The state, which cited a recent case against a former executive who stole customer data from Countrywide then sold it to mortgage lead companies, said the Calabasas, Calif.-based lender closed 21 Illinois branches without giving the state the required notice.

The lender is now required to report loan workouts by the first of each month to the department.

But the restrictions on new lending do not apply to Countrywide Bank, FSB, which is federally regulated. A a result, loan originations can still be conducted under the banking unit.

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