The Federal Reserve should hold public hearings on the proposed acquisition of Countrywide Financial by Bank of America. It should also extend the public comment period thirty days to give stakeholders the opportunity to review the company's lending data, to be released April 1, 2008.
Before Bank of America offered to purchase Countywide Financial, Countrywide made millions of subprime loans that have either ended in foreclosure or threaten to push struggling homeowners into foreclosure in the coming months and years. There are also serious concerns about ongoing investigations into Countrywide’s lending practices initiated by a number of states’ Attorneys General and possibly the FBI.
With many of these issues still pending, a public hearing on the acquisition is necessary to give interested parties the chance to express their concerns and ensure that the combined entity will meet the unique credit needs of its new customers, many of whom are locked into troubled loans originated by Countrywide Financial.