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Bank of America buying out Countrywide? You're kidding, right?
Submitted by bbeitel on Thu, 01/10/2008 - 22:07.
Whoa, stop the world, I want to get off.
Why? You may ask.
The answer is: I worked for both of these companies as a Mortgage Loan Originator.
Don't get me wrong, I still love the *bank* part of BoA, but their mortgage fulfillment is proof that hell really does exist on earth. I had one hand and one leg tied behind my back when I would send a loan in to fulfillment. They would underwrite it sometimes in a completely different area, and the Brea Tar Pits where our loans went for proceessing was happily dubbed "Where good loans go to die." Yes, this was a place where slam-dunk loans for customers with 720+ FICO scores routinely took anywhere from 24-45 days to process due to inept processors and even worse management support. Not to mention the fact that BofA sets up it's retail AE's to fail by forcing them to compete against their Banking Center partners. The BC's can't offer anywhere near the range of products retail has access to, nor are Banking Center Managers or Personal Bankers properly trained to advise mortgage clients. Furthermore, they have an originating system which is horribly inflexible and not competetive. BofA advertises all of these "free" loans, but the rates are probably 2+ basis points over prime. This is what you get when you promote your head of Home Mortgage Lending out of your Auto Finance division.
Countrywide has a (well-earned) reputation among other lenders for trying to force as many folks into Sub-Prime as they possibly could. I *hated* Countrywide. Their management structure was awful. Our Sales Manager had no real ability to do anything for their EHLC's. In addition to pitching Subprime, they pushed us to hawk Pay-Option ARM's, which are financial suicide for typical borrowers (but bring in big bucks for the company). Their origination system was Counter-intuitive, full of bugs, and did not even allow for updates or changes to existing paper without submitting a brand new loan. The good part of Countrywide was their belief in in-house U/W and Processing, which may actually be huge coup for Bank of America. Hopefully, they adopt this model. Add the fact that Countrywide was the largest payment servicer of mortgage loans, and the gurus at BofA (who hate that acronym, so I'm going to use it as much as possible) comes out with a huge financial windfall. It just might make me want to go back into lending... for Wells Fargo or National City.
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