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Bank of America to purchase Countrywide Financial Corp

Bank of America Corporation has announced a definitive agreement to purchase Countrywide Financial Corp. in an all-stock transaction worth approximately $4 billion.

The purchase will make Bank of America the nation's largest mortgage lender and loan servicer. Countrywide will benefit from the stability of being part of the largest and one of the most financially strong financial institutions in the United States. Countrywide customers will gain access to a broad set of consumer products including credit cards and deposit services.

Bank of America will benefit from Countrywide's broader mortgage capabilities, including its extensive retail, wholesale and correspondent distribution networks. The Calabasas, California-based company operates more than 1,000 field offices and has a sales force of nearly 15,000. Countrywide also has a leading mortgage technology platform, a well known brand in home lending and management expertise in a number of key areas.

Bank of America would gain greater scale in originating and servicing mortgages in the U.S. Countrywide had $408 billion in mortgage originations in 2007 and has a servicing portfolio of about $1.5 trillion with 9 million loans. The purchase also includes Countrywide's Lender Placed insurance and other businesses.

Countrywide's deep retail distribution will enhance Bank of America's network of more than 6,100 banking centers throughout the U.S. After closing, Bank of America plans to operate Countrywide separately under the Countrywide brand with integration occurring no sooner than 2009.

Financial Terms

Under the terms of the agreement, shareholders of Countrywide would receive .1822 of a share of Bank of America stock in exchange for each share of Countrywide.

The purchase is expected to close in the third quarter and to be neutral to Bank of America earnings per share in 2008 and accretive in 2009, excluding merger and restructuring costs.

Bank of America expects $670 million in after-tax cost savings in the transaction, or 11 percent of the expense base of the two companies' mortgage operations. About one third of those savings would come in 2009, two thirds would be realized in 2010 and savings would be fully realized in 2011.

The agreement has been approved by Bank of America's board of directors and Countrywide's board of directors and is subject to approval by Countrywide's shareholders and customary regulatory approvals.

Subprime Initiatives

Origination of subprime loans is not planned for the combined company. Both companies share the goal of keeping distressed mortgage borrowers in their homes when possible. Both Bank of America and Countrywide continue to work with public officials and community groups to explore new initiatives to help homebuyers and communities affected by the subprime issue.

Bank of America plans to expand the capacity and marketing of credit counseling programs and internal capacity and flexibility for loan modifications for loan workout teams following the purchase of Countrywide. Countrywide also has a number of programs in place designed to minimize foreclosures where feasible.

(Extracts from the Press release of Bank of America)



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