Mozilo, a butcher's son from Bronx, New York who co-founded Countrywide in 1969, has been a lightning rod for critics who say he encouraged loose lending practices that contributed
heavily to the housing crisis.
Lewis said he wants to retain "a number" of senior Countrywide officials who are "very, very good operators."
He also said he would like the 69-year-old Mozilo to stay with Countrywide until the merger closes, after which "I would guess he would want to go have some fun."
Countrywide did not immediately return requests for comment.
In 2007, Countrywide made $408 billion of mortgages, or roughly one in six home loans. It also handles billings on some $1.48 trillion of mortgages in its servicing portfolio.
The company cut lending nearly in half late last year, and stopped making most of the variable-rate and subprime mortgages that caused many of its problems, after tight credit markets
forced it in August to draw down a $11.5 billion credit line.
Nevertheless, Countrywide on Wednesday said defaults and late payments in its servicing portfolio reached the highest on record. It lost $1.2 billion in the third quarter.
Asked about the prospect of further credit losses, Lewis said: "That would be embedded in the purchase price, and in our assumptions on earnings going forward."
Bank of America has not offered subprime mortgages since 2001, and said the combined company won't make them either.
Moody's Investors Service nevertheless said it may downgrade Bank of America's ratings, citing the need for the bank to raise capital, and risks from integrating Countrywide and potential write-downs and lawsuits.
Mozilo has also been faulted for collecting hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation this decade, including millions after it was clear the housing crisis had begun. He could receive another $36.4 million if the merger goes through, according to regulatory filings and compensation experts.
Bank of America's bankers and the law firms Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP and K&L Gates advised the bank on the merger. Sandler O'Neill & Partners LP, Goldman Sachs &
Co and the law firm Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz advised Countrywide. Sandler advised Countrywide's board of directors.