CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Bank of America Mortgage on Tuesday informed its employees and correspondent lending customers that it is exiting the residential mortgage correspondent lending business, a spokeswoman for the company said.

The move is part of Bank of America Corp.'s effort to focus on "growing relationships" with individual consumers, the spokeswoman said. "We're just refocusing our efforts and will not continue that piece of business, because it doesn't fit with that strategy."

Of the $52 billion of mortgage loans Bank of America Mortgage originated last year, 36%, or $18.8 billion, was correspondent lending.

The move will not result in any office closings, the spokeswoman said. The "majority" of employees who have been supporting the correspondent business will shift to the consumer mortgage business, she said.

There may be some job losses, but not a "significant" number, she said.

The spokeswoman stressed that Bank of America is in no way trying to get out of the mortgage business, but "trying to grow it." In addition to retail mortgages, the company will continue to offer wholesale lending.

The transition - closing the correspondent channel and expanding direct customer lending - will take the rest of the year, she said.

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