Bank of America to Mortgage Customers: We're Here for You

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As big-bank watchers well know, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) , has been being beaten up again recently over problems tied to mortgages -- specifically, the bank's alleged behavior toward troubled mortgage borrowers.

While this kind of press tends to perpetuate the notion that B of A will never get over its acquisition of Countrywide and its boatloads of bad loans, this is not truly the case. Even as high-profile cases like the bank's supposed railroading of homeowners trying to find a way out of their personal mortgage muddle hog headlines, the bank is chugging along, reducing its stable of toxic loans.

There's no doubt that Bank of America is making headway in that regard. A recent Bloomberg article noted that, of the 1.6 million problem loans the bank once had on its books, only 667,000 remain. This has led to reductions in the bank's Legacy Asset Servicing unit , which corralled the crummy Countrywide loans into a separate department and hired staff to deal with these mortgages -- and the borrowers entangled with them. Some estimate the size of this workforce to have been about 59,000 employees.

An ongoing slimming process
So, when B of A announced a combined reduction of 411 workers in two Legacy units located in Texas, it wasn't a huge surprise. The bank has recently closed a mortgage servicing location in New York state, and both the building lease and a passel of servicing rights were snapped up by M&T Bank (NYSE: MTB  ) , a large northeastern regional anxious to get even bigger and more diverse. Prior to that, Bank of America had laid off more than 50 Legacy unit workers in California, as well as almost 470 in New Jersey. 

Although these layoffs appear to be part and parcel of CEO Brian Moynihan's Project New BAC, other banks, like JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) , have also seen their caseloads of bad loans decrease, and have trimmed accordingly. In February, the nation's largest bank announced that it would slash approximately 14,000 jobs in its mortgage section through the end of next year.

What was surprising in the B of A announcement was an unusual comment by the bank's spokesperson, who said that the bank is not planning to cut back on the service provided to borrowers who need its help. I believe this was said not only to soothe remaining mortgage holders that have not yet been able to resolve their loan issues, but also in direct response to the new wave of ire that has been unleashed in response to the revealing testimony in the loan modification case.

A new effort at customer relations?
I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't yet another public relations improvement plan afoot. Moynihan has made improving the bank's pitiful standing with consumers a priority this year, though he hasn't made a ton of headway yet.

Still, you can't blame the guy for trying. What is really interesting is that Bank of America's Merrill Lynch division seems to have it down, having recently been cited by J.D. Power for customer satisfaction in its corporate and commercial banking sections. The bank earned a spot in Power's Call Center Certification Program, so tickled were the survey respondents who had used the bank's Client Services call center.

Is there some reason the folks from BAML can't saunter over to the retail side of the bank and share their secrets? If Moynihan is serious about improving B of A's reputation with the general public, I suggest he give this a try.

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  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 10:36 AM, Dubem wrote:

    Yeah right! What they are doing is selling off their loans! I was a BOA customer for 8 years no mortgage problems until we had problems 2years ago, we started. Modification and 2 YEARS later they still were screwing around and finally sold our loan to green tree! Now we have to start over! Thanks BOA! We started at their customer service center first -joke! 3 different mod-agents, tons of repetitive paperwork and many phone calls and letters for nothing! Don't get a loand or do business withBOA!!!!!

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 11:05 AM, Billishee99 wrote:

    I am currently refinancing with B of A and the redundancy of trying to get the refi done is crazy. I met with a loan officer, filled out all the forms, took over 2 hours, even though B of A holds my current mortgage. Then, another loan officer from NJ calls and wants to go over everything I filled out with local loan officer. This guy from NJ called 3 times to verify everything I filled out and sent to them! Now Im being told it will take up to 75-90 days to complete refi! Rate lock is only good for 90 days, I hope they are not trying to delay so they can get a higher rate in the future if we pass the lock date.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 11:16 AM, fiream wrote:

    How about 4 years of try to get these guy for a remod. they won't even use the gov.program. we are now 59 payments behind do to the fact that they would not take our payments. we have live in this house my i add it is the house my was born in 22 years and they want to do is take it a way from us.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 11:20 AM, Bob98034 wrote:

    Yeah and I believe that B of A is being honest about how they treat their customers. They have spent the last 10 years screwing as many customers as they could on their mortgage program. Read a few of the articles that have hit the press lately. YEAH SURE you lying bunch of BANKERS. Ask them about their HARP program

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2013, at 12:48 PM, Mugseyshirlee67 wrote:

    I also had my original mortgage with Country wide.

    I have a plus credit, always live within my means, pay more than the minimum on my c.c. and they countrywide sold me out to boa in 2007. I tried to refi last year and they turned me down. Now I have been sold out again to Green Tree..

    I bet if I try to refi again with Green Tree I will be turned down again.

    I also have a c.c. With BofA and their interest rates suck to a good paying customer who held this card for years. They give me a rate of interest on this card that a bad paying customer holds. It's B.S.. I am ready to stop paying on this card since I no longer have my mortgage with them.

    Bank of America you don't play fair ball and take care of your good customers the way you should

    Signed a very displeased customer

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