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Bank of America bails out Countrywide


Bank of America, the largest retail banking operation in the country has being keen to expand it mortgage operations for a long time, and this week, the ill-fated, cash-starved Countrywide offer just that opportunity.

Investing $2 billion in Countrywide provides BofA preferred stock that pays 7.5% per year and can be converted in Countrywide common stock at $18 per share, about %8 lower than today’s price of $26-27. When the stock is one day converted BofA will own 16% of Countrywide.

The cash infusion will help Countrywide withstand the drought in short-term financing that has starved mortgage lenders. The highest rate in 10 years of bad loans held in subprime mortgage bonds drove up the cost of credit for borrowers worldwide, forcing central banks to pump more than $400 billion of emergency funds into money markets.






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