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Originations Sink as BofA Makes Headway on Staff Cuts

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Mortgage Daily

                                                 April 19, 2012

In September, Bank of America Corp. said it planned to reduce its staff by around 30,000 employees. The latest earnings data indicate that the company is about a third of the way there. Originations, meanwhile, have been slashed by nearly three quarters over the past year.

Loan production at the Charlotte, N.C.-based firm was 63,000 loans funded for $15.998 billion during the three months ended March 31, according to earnings data released Thursday.

Business slowed from the fourth quarter, when BofA originated $22.373 billion.

Loan fundings have tumbled by nearly three quarters from a year earlier, when volume was $58.462. The year-over-year decline was “largely due to the exit from the correspondent channel.”

While BofA and subsidiary Countrywide Financial Corp. have previously ranked as the biggest residential lenders, BofA will be lucky to maintain a ranking among the top 10 U.S. lenders if fundings continue to slide.

Refinance share was 84 percent in the first quarter.

The third-party mortgage servicing portfolio ended March at $1.313 trillion, shrinking from $1.379 trillion at the end of last year and $1.610 trillion at the same point in 2011.

Mortgage assets totaled $388.130 billion as of the end of the first quarter, lower than $398.084 billion owned as of Dec. 31 and the $408.2 billion owned as of March 31, 2011.

Last month’s holdings reflected $256.41 billion in residential mortgages. Residential delinquency of at least 30 days, excluding government mortgages, was 2.16 percent, improving from the fourth quarter’s 2.49 percent. Delinquency was also better that at the same time last year, when the rate was 2.57 percent.

When government-insured mortgages are factored in, the 30-day rate skyrockets to 10.68 percent. The rate was 10.94 percent at the end of last year and 10.45 percent as the first quarter of 2011.

Assets also included $121.246 billion in home-equity loans. HEL delinquency fell to 1.2 percent from 1.5 percent three months earlier and one year earlier.

Discontinued real estate loans accounted for $10.453 billion of the first-quarter total.

BofA additionally originated $8.9 billion in commercial real estate loans during the first quarter.

The bank owned $38.049 billion in CRE loans, easing from $39.596 billion three months earlier.

The representations and warranties provision was slashed to $0.282 billion from $1.013 billion a year prior. But the number was slightly inflated from $0.263 billion at the end of 2011.

Outstanding repurchase claims totaled $16.094 billion as of last month, growing from $12.607 billion at the end of December. About half of pending demands are from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, while the other half is either from monoline insurers or private parties. Outstanding repurchases have also increased from $11.896 billion at the same point last year.

The loss before taxes within the consumer real estate services business was $1.738 billion. The unit cut its losses from $2.298 billion during the final three months of last year and $3.812 billion in the first three months of last year.

“The net loss is driven by continued high costs of managing delinquent and defaulted loans in the servicing portfolio combined with costs associated with managing other legacy mortgage exposures,” the report said.

Across all of BofA, net income before taxes sank to $0.926 billion from the fourth quarter’s $2.690 billion. Income was $2.998 billion in the year-earlier period.

BofA disclosed in September 2011 that its Project New BAC would result in the elimination of 30,000 jobs during the following few years. Company-wide headcount was 288,739 as of Sept. 30.

In the first-quarter earnings report, staffing stood at 278,688 as of the end of last month. Three months earlier headcount was 281,791, while the year-earlier figure was 288,913.

BofA operated 5,651 banking centers, fewer than the 5,702 branches at the end of last year and 5,805 centers open as of March 31, 2011.

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