BofA To Acquire Countrywide by July 1: Source

Bank of America expects to complete its acquisition of mortgage lender Countrywide Financial by July 1, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

Countrywide Financial
Kevork Djansezian
Countrywide Financial

In January, Bank of America agreed to pay about $4 billion for Countrywide, a California-based lender that helped fuel years of a housing boom that went bust when risky loans to shaky borrowers began to fail.

The Federal Reserve approved the acquisition in early June.

Bank of America, the No. 2 commercial bank, has said it expected to close the purchase of Countrywide, the money-losing mortgage giant, in the third quarter.

Many consumer advocates, lawyers and politicians have criticized the merger and Countrywide's lending practices. The company's financial and legal woes have led many investors to question whether Bank of America would go through with the takeover.

One such critic is Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, who said on Thursday the takeover of Countrywide's mortgage portfolio will be better for individual borrowers and the U.S. economy as a whole.

Bank of America shares closed down 23 cents, or 0.81 percent, at $28.14, while Countrywide rose 16 cents, or 3.43 percent, to $4.83, both on the New York Stock Exchange.