Bank of America is gaining a stronger foothold in the U.S. residential mortgage market amid an ongoing housing and mortgage credit crisis, according to an interview published today by Bloomberg News. From the story:
The bank had 8.1 percent, the industry’s largest market share, of first and second mortgage loans made directly to consumers during the second quarter, Floyd Robinson, president of the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company’s home loan business, said in an interview. The bank’s share of total U.S. mortgage originations increased to 7.1 percent as of June 30, up from 5.7 percent a year earlier, Credit Suisse analyst Moshe Orenbuch said in an Oct. 2 report … The bank’s delinquency and foreclosure rates remain “very similar” to a year ago even as a record number of Americans faced foreclosure at the end of the second quarter, Robinson said. “We’re not seeing any major deterioration,” he said, noting Bank of America stopped lending to the riskiest borrowers more than five years ago.
Alot of the bank’s growth can be pegged to its popular No-Fee Mortgage Plus program. I’ve had dinner with a few executives from BofA over the past few years, and I can tell you that the bank in general stayed away from the more risky mortgage loans while it watched others trample on its market share as a result — something I always found interesting given the bank’s more blue-collar reputation relative to its peers. I specifically recall meeting the former VP in charge of REO sales & dispostion at the bank, who told me that the bank’s brand name was much larger than its REO portfolio — although the brand equity behind BofA had nearly every vendor in the default and REO industry chasing him. That doesn’t mean BofA is immune to current market conditions, however — the bank is expected to write down some $300 million in mortgage-backed securities. But that’s a much smaller number than many competitors.