Hugh Son, Bloomberg

Bank of America Corp., plagued by complaints about customer service in its mortgage unit, said it hasn’t yet refinanced a “significant number” of loans as part of the industry’s $25 billion settlement of foreclosure abuses.

The lender blamed the “time required to underwrite” loans for why it hasn’t completed many of its planned $1 billion in modifications, according to a filing earlier this month. By contrast, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) said last week it has already finished a “significant portion” of its $500 million program and Wells Fargo (WFC) & Co. said it expected to complete its $900 million requirement two years ahead of the 2015 deadline.

“The infrastructure Bank of America has to handle an issue of this magnitude isn’t great, so they’re last out of the gate,” saidNancy Bush, an analyst and contributing editor at SNL Financial, a research firm in Charlottesville, Virginia. JPMorgan and Wells Fargo have better mortgage systems, she said.

Delays mean distressed Bank of America borrowers may miss out on record low interest rates that could ease their burden. The lender, overwhelmed in February by demand under an earlier federal refinancing program, could also forego incentives for early completions and face penalties if it doesn’t help most borrowers within two years under the U.S. settlement.

The firm doesn’t expect to pay any fines because it’s “on a path” to meeting homeowner assistance pledges within a year, Jumana Bauwens, a Bank of America spokeswoman, said in an e- mail. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based company started to contact refinancing customers in May and will continue through year-end, she said.

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