Bank of America, Charlotte, N.C., and Countrywide Financial Corp., Calabasas, Calif., are involved in talks about combining forces in mortgages, according to a report by The Financial Times.BoA and Countrywide declined to comment. A few years back, National Mortgage News reported that Countrywide and Bank of America were discussing an outsourcing arrangement whereby Countrywide would originate and service loans for the bank under a "private-label" arrangement. BoA eventually passed on the deal, said an executive familiar with the talks. The Financial Times also reported Friday that the two parties might be engaged in merger talks. One analyst who follows Countrywide said it is more likely that the firms would strike a deal in regard to outsourcing as opposed to a merger.

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