Hugh Son, Bloomberg
Bank of America Corp.’s surging claims for refunds on faulty mortgages in the second quarter stemmed partly from loans made by the bank and its Merrill Lynch unit, in addition to the company’s Countrywide subsidiary, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter.
The backlog of new claims from private investors probably will increase in the months ahead, according to the people, who asked for anonymity because mortgage disputes are private. The firm regards grounds for the demands as weaker than those triggered by Countrywide loans, the people said.
Bank of America said last month that total demands for buybacks from mortgage-bond investors and insurers surged more than 40 percent in three months to $22.7 billion. TheCharlotte, North Carolina-based company, ranked second by assets among U.S. lenders, has already committed more than $40 billion to resolve disputes on faulty loans and foreclosures, and shareholders are pressing the bank to stem the bleeding.
“Whether it’s private investors or the government, folks are going to scour every delinquent loan to try and find defects,” said Jefferson Harralson, an analyst at KBW Inc. with a market perform rating on the lender. “Countrywide loans were dealt with first, but the non-Countrywide loans still have a significant chance of being put back to them.”
Progress has been made in talks to break an impasse over refunds with Fannie Mae (FNMA), which accounted for the bulk of previous claims, the people said. A settlement isn’t close and may not happen, and the company is comfortable with its reserve levels, they said. The lender has climbed 29 percent this year in New York trading, compared with a 58 percent decline in 2011.