Bank of America Corp.’s head of home lending said outside estimates of costs stemming from delays in foreclosures are “grossly distorted.”
Reviews of foreclosures will delay fewer than 30,000 sales, said Barbara Desoer, president of Bank of America’s home lending and insurance unit, without specifying which estimates she believes are imprecise. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender will rework 102,000 pending foreclosures in 23 states and stands by the accuracy of its procedures, she said.
Bank of America shares declined about 9 percent this week, reaching their lowest levels in more than a year, amid growing scrutiny of foreclosure practices and speculation that even greater losses may result if mortgage-bond investors challenge underlying loans and force lenders to buy them back. The lender said Oct. 8 it would stop foreclosure sales nationally pending a review of its practices over the next few weeks.
“We believe that our assessment shows the basis for past foreclosure decisions is accurate,” Desoer said in an interview today. “The type of borrower in that 30,000 is somebody who hasn’t made a payment in an extended period of time.”
The bank has hired an independent company to study its loan documents and processes, Desoer said, declining to elaborate. Because of the bank’s earnings announcement scheduled for Oct. 19, she said she couldn’t provide more details on costs from foreclosure delays.
“We are pulling 102,000 foreclosure affidavits that we will rework and get reinserted so that the judgments can take place,” she said. “We are pulling them all, whether we think it’s right or not, and doing this to the new standards of quality that will be independently tested.”
About 195,000 borrowers at Bank of America haven’t made a mortgage payment in more than two years, Desoer said, which she attributed to prolonged economic difficulties and high unemployment.
Bank of America declined 64 cents, or 5.1 percent, at 1:43 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.
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