Mortgages Flow

Bank of America’s Barbara Desoer is on a damage control mission.


Barbara Desoer, the new president of Bank of America’s mortgage, home equity and insurance services, is on a damage control mission: to distance the operation from the discredited brand name of Countrywide Financial Corp., which BofA acquired in July for $2.5 billion. Desoer, 56, previously the Charlotte, North Carolina–based banking giant’s chief technology and operations officer, last month agreed to an $8.4 billion legal settlement with 14 states over alleged predatory lending by Countrywide. She has also been participating in talks in Washington on the future of securitization and ways to keep homeowners in their homes. Meanwhile, BofA is seeing a surge in mortgage activity as consumers flee monoline mortgage companies in favor of top-tier banks. BofA booked 250,000 mortgage loans worth $51 billion in the third quarter. “It’s one of the most challenging environments ever, but Countrywide is now part of a bank that is experiencing an unprecedented flight to quality,” says Desoer.