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Bank of America to help Countrywide borrowers

Bank of America Corp., seeking approval of its Countrywide Financial Corp. takeover, plans to modify at least $40 billion of mortgages during the next two years to keep customers in their homes. Bank of America said that it will locate its national consumer mortgage headquarters in Calabasas, Calif., once it completes its acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp. Bank of America also plans to double its community development lending, which focuses on affordable housing, small businesses and people in low-income and minority neighborhoods, to $1.5 trillion over 10 years. To accomplish this, the company will offer borrowers several options, including loan modifications and payment forbearance. It will not charge borrowers in foreclosure new late charges, and, in some cases, will waive prepayment penalties. Critics have said that BofA needs to make a strong commitment to working with troubled borrowers and minority communities in the wake of the proposed acquisition, which would ostensibly create the nation’s largest mortgage banking operation.

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