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BoA Offers ‘Clarity,’ Flat Fee Loan

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CHARLOTTE, NC-Bank of America – in conjunction with the official launch of its Bank of America Home Loans rebranding last month – created three new tools and products that focus on providing transparency and responsible lending to consumers, including the “clarity commitment,” a one-page loan summary that allows customers to review their loan terms.

This simple form spells out the monthly mortgage payment, the date it is due, the interest rate, what the rate and monthly payment could reset to if it is an adjustable-rate mortgage, and the closing cost. It is available on the retail-originated purchases and refinance programs.

“We believe it’s the right product at the right time and a big differentiator,” said Aditya Bhasin, a mortgage product and pricing executive, during a teleconference in which the company home affordability issues and the rebranding of residential real estate finance operations, notably the former Countrywide and home equity units.

Flat Fee Mortgage Plus, a loan that has no application fee and has a single flat closing fee, also was introduced. It comes with the clarity commitment and guarantees it will close on time and provide the best value. “This product is now available in our 6,100 banking centers and includes most conventional fixed-rate loans and many conventional hybrid loans as well. It is for purchase loans only for the time being and will become widely available in the future,” Mr. Bhasin said.

Because many customers say they begin the mortgage process on the Internet, BoA also launched a new interactive home loan guide website.

BoA Countrywide’s capacity and distribution to capture current market opportunity and drive business forward, said Barbra Desoer, president, BoAHL. BoA extended more than $85 billion in mortgage credit in the first quarter, helping more than 382,000 customers. Seventy-five percent of 1Q originations were refis. The company has added 3,000 positions and was adding 1,000 more to keep pace with the demand on the refi and purchase side at press time, Ms. Desoer said.

Countrywide had a substantial presence in the wholesale/correspondent side of the business, and BoA last month reiterated its commitment to those channels despite changes. “We have changed some of the credit criteria and the risk profile in the wholesale channel,” she said. “Our intent is to enable consumers regardless of how they choose to obtain their home loan needs, through the Internet, directly through retail through our banking centers, through a broker or through correspondent.”