B of A Puts Countrywide Vet in Charge of Mortgage Lending
In another reshuffling of its mortgage ranks, Bank of America has promoted D. Steve Boland, who joined the company through the 2008 acquisition of Countrywide Financial, to head residential lending.
Boland, who has been a managing director at B of A since 2010, succeeded Matt Vernon, who moved to a newly created role of strategic initiatives executive for mortgages, said Terry Francisco, a company spokesman.
The change comes during a particularly difficult period in mortgages, in which the top banks have slogged through tepid demand for home purchases after a dramatic drop refinance activity last year.
B of A initially retreated from home lending after the housing crisis, ceding market share under Vernon. But it then charged back in with a retail-only strategy, saying it would serve wealth management and core customers.
The bank was the third largest home lender last year, according to MortgageStats.com, with a 5.6% market share that trailed Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase. It's a far cry from the days when Countrywide, under the leadership of Angelo Mozilo, focused on staying No. 1 and dreamt of a 30% share.
Boland, who is based in New York, is a 25-year veteran of the mortgage banking industry with expertise in fair lending and community outreach. He has broad experience in a range of executive roles, most recently overseeing the bank's mortgage underwriting and fulfillment operations.
He spent four years as head of B of A's reverse mortgage lending and was the president and CEO of LandSafe, the settlement services unit of Countrywide.
Earlier he was Countrywide's director of fair lending, during a period when the company, the industry and the government were all pushing to expand homeownership among low- and moderate-income consumers.
In 1998, Boland lauded a Fannie Mae product that allowed borrowers to put down as little as 3% without necessarily using their own funds. "The ability to not have to have that money come from their own funds is definitely going to be a big plus for us," he said at the time. "I think it's an opportunity to penetrate more markets."
B of A, the second-largest U.S. bank, has been haunted by its 2008 purchase of Countrywide Financial, now considered a major debacle. The bank is in settlement talks with the Justice Department to resolve claims that it sold poorly underwritten loans to mortgage investors.
So far B of A has shelled out more than $60 billion to resolve various legal issues related to bad home loans, most of them from Countrywide. Many of Boland's former Countrywide colleagues left in the years following the purchase.
At Bank of America, Boland now is in charge of sales and fulfillment, an organizational structure that B of A had abandoned three years ago when it sidelined its former mortgage head, Barbara Desoer, who retired and then joined Citigroup last year.
Boland oversees the newly combined sales and fulfillment group with more than 10,000 employees covering first mortgages and home equity loans.
B of A made the change on June 9 but did not make a public announcement because the home loan origination job is too far down the organizational structure to warrant one, Francisco said.
Boland will report to Dean Athanasia, the preferred and small business banking executive, who in turn reports to David Darnell, B of A's co-chief operating officer. Darnell reports to Brian Moynihan, B of A's CEO.
Mortgage servicing and product development still have separate executives after being split off from the bank's sales operations in the previous reshuffling in late 2011.
B of A's mortgage lending rebounded dramatically in the second quarter compared with the first quarter, up 27% to $13.7 billion. But its lending volume was still down 49% from a year earlier.