Bank of America refutes whistle-blower allegations
Internal e-mail exchanges released by a former Balboa Insurance employee do not show any improprieties on the part of Balboa or Bank of America (BAC) in the handling of mortgages and foreclosures, a spokeswoman for BofA said Monday. She says the e-mails released by an anonymous Internet group actually show Balboa Insurance employees taking deliberate steps to correct minor clerical errors. "We are aware that a former Balboa Insurance Group employee is trying to generate interest in non-foreclosure related clerical and administrative documents that he stole from the company," BofA said. "We are confident that his extravagant assertions are untrue." The banking giant's response came after a morning of accusations of foreclosure misfeasance against BofA. On a Twitter feed Sunday, a network of online data hackers, known as Anonymous, said they would publish information to show BofA's former insurance unit Balboa handled mortgages and foreclosures improperly. The published e-mail exchange shows Balboa employees corresponding in November, months before BofA sold off its Balboa unit. Critics point out that, at this point, Balboa is a subsidiary of Bank of America and charge that the bank is accountable for all employee actions. A whistle-blower claimed the exchanges showed Balboa employees plotting to remove tracking numbers that tie mortgages to other documents. However, a BofA spokeswoman said employees were actually removing mistakes from the system to ensure customers would not be impacted by erroneous information. She said the e-mail exchange related to flood insurance letters that contained clerical errors. To ensure those errors would not confuse customers, Balboa employees were discussing in the November e-mail exchange how to unlink the letters from other documents, the BofA spokeswoman explained. A former Balboa employee allegedly released the documents. Bank of America acquired Balboa during the takeover of Countrywide Financial which closed in January 2008. In early February, Bank of America sold Balboa to QBE Insurance Group for $700 million. Write to Kerri Panchuk.