Bank of America, Charlotte, N.C., is reportedly talking to Countrywide Financial Corp., Calabasas, Calif., about buying all or part of the company, according to industry sources and a report by The Wall Street Journal. If the two merge their residential loan operations, the resulting entity would have a 23.7% market share among originators, potentially swamping the competition, according to figures compiled by National Mortgage News and the Quarterly Data Report. Among servicers, the combined market share would be 21.3%. The news of a sale comes two days after rumors about a possible bankruptcy filing by Countrywide sent the firm's stock price reeling. (Countrywide denied that it was in danger of failing.) At deadline time, Countrywide and BoA officials could not be reached for comment. Countrywide is set to report its fourth-quarter earnings on Jan. 29. (For more details, see the Jan. 14 issue of NMN.)

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