Bloomberg News

BofA Said to Put Off Refinancing Clients as U.S. Spurs Demand

February 14, 2012

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Bank of America Corp., facing increased demand for mortgage refinancing amid government efforts to help struggling homeowners, is telling some customers to wait 90 days, said two people with knowledge of the policy.

The firm began a reservation system last week that asks people who call during high-volume times if they wish to be contacted again in 60 to 90 days, said the people, who requested anonymity because the company hasn’t announced the measure. Its customers with a checking account or who apply for a refinance at a branch aren’t subject to the delay, said one person.

The U.S. government’s Home Affordable Refinance Program, which helps homeowners refinance loans and lower monthly payments, has increased applications and strained capacity at the lender. The latest version of the program, dubbed HARP 2, was broadened last year so more people can qualify. Bank of America’s policy may be removed if demand falls or as more employees are added, the person said.

“We’ve had strong demand, especially from the implementation of HARP 2, and we’re working hard to satisfy that demand as capably as we can,” said Terry Francisco, a spokesman for the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank.

The company lost about three-quarters of its market share in U.S. home mortgages since 2007 while grappling with defective loans inherited from its acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp., falling to 5.6 percent of originations in the fourth quarter, according to FBR Capital Markets.

--Editors: David Scheer, Steve Dickson

To contact the reporter on this story: Hugh Son in New York at hson1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net


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