Banks have been roundly criticized for shortcomings in their loan modification efforts, but executives said Wednesday that they are learning from their mistakes and experimenting with alternatives to help stressed borrowers.

If anything's become apparent from bankers' struggles with loan modifications, it's that banks need to get better at identifying which mortgage holders are best suited for workouts. Another plus would be developing other options to offer those whose credit profiles disqualify them. Barbara Desoer, who runs the mortgage and insurance operations at Bank of America Corp., touted the Charlotte company's nearly 500,000 loan modifications in the past 13 months and unveiled a pilot program aimed at borrowers who fail to qualify for modifications.

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