Bank of America (BoA), within 30 days, will make a final decision on the fate of Merrill Lynch's far flung mortgage units, which include two large subprime servicing companies, and a Jacksonville, Fla.-based division that caters to Merrill's wealthy brokerage customers.

In an interview with National Mortgage News on March 12, BoA mortgage chief Barbara Desoer said "we're in the midst of making an assessment" but offered no guidance on what, exactly, the bank would do with the units. BoA — which took control of Merrill earlier this year — already owns a large servicing operation that caters to subprime customers through its ownership of Countrywide Home Loans. Merrill's subprime servicing businesses include Home Loan Services of Pittsburgh, and Wilshire Credit, Beaverton, Ore.

Meanwhile, Desoer said BoA is experiencing "significantly greater" residential loan volumes in the first quarter than in the fourth but offered no guidance on fundings. According to the Quarterly Data Report, BoA funded $49.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008, ranking a close second to Wells Fargo & Co.

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