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Bank of America to triple number of outreach centers for delinquent homeowners

The bank has been criticized for not doing more to modify the mortgages of distressed borrowers. BofA now has 12 outreach centers nationally and will open 28 more.

May 06, 2011|By E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times

Bank of America plans to triple the number of its outreach centers for homeowners in trouble on their mortgages, including adding seven of the offices in California.

BofA currently has 12 such centers nationally, including two Southern California locations in Brea and Glendale.

The bank said Thursday that it would open 28 more, including one to serve South Los Angeles and the South Bay, one for the west San Fernando Valley and east Ventura County, one in the Antelope Valley and one in the Inland Empire.

Like other big banks, BofA has been harshly criticized by borrowers, lawmakers and consumer advocates for not doing more to modify loan terms for borrowers in distress. Much of that criticism has dealt with how the banks have handled applications for modifications.

BofA also has been unable to reach even 1 in 4 of its delinquent borrowers, spokesman Rick Simon said. The company hopes that the additional outreach locations will help it connect with more such borrowers.

"One of the most difficult challenges we face is encouraging homeowners who are behind on their payments to respond to our invitations to work with them," Rebecca Mairone, who heads BofA's efforts to engage troubled borrowers, said in a news release announcing the new offices.

Late last year, the bank said it would double the size of its outreach staff in 2011 and make it easier for distressed homeowners to contact the company about modifying their loans.

The Charlotte, N.C., bank has been clobbered by losses on high-risk home loans that it inherited when it acquired Countrywide Financial Corp. of Calabasas in 2008.

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