Consumer Groups Call for Scrutiny of BofA/Countrywide Merger
The California Reinvestment Coalition, Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina, Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project, and New Jersey Citizen Action each sent letters today to Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) of the Senate Banking Committee, and Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) of the House Financial Services Committee, urging "investigative hearings" surrounding the pending merger between Countrywide Financial and Bank of America. The groups said in a press statement Friday that they want Congress to ensure that a plan is drafted "to guarantee borrowers will be offered affordable, fixed rate loans that will enable them to keep their homes." "Working families and communities will suffer if Bank of America is allowed to take control of Countrywide's portfolio without stringent oversight, and without a concrete commitment to work with distressed borrowers to prevent foreclosure," said Josh Zinner, co-director of the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project of New York City. Talk about a halo effect in reverse. So now BofA -- who largely steered completely clear of the subprime mess -- is being characterized by activist consumer groups as potentially worse than former favorite-target Countrywide?