Bank of America Corp., ever so quietly, is starting to unload some of the massive holdings of nonperforming pay-option adjustable-rate mortgages it inherited when it bought Countrywide Financial Corp. last year.

According to investors and brokers participating in the nonperforming-loans market, B of A has sold three or so pools of option ARMs, each in the range of $10 million to $15 million.

"I'm not sure why they don't offer one massive pool — maybe they don't want to take the hit quite yet," said an investor in nonperformers, requesting his name not be used.

A spokesman for B of A declined to comment. Most of what the company has been auctioning off is option ARMs that have been held by Countrywide.

These loans — which total in the billions — were held on Countrywide's balance sheet and were never securitized.

Investors say option ARMs are difficult to sell — and to service. Some bidders will offer only 40 cents on the dollar. Depending on the lender — and how the credits were underwritten — some option ARMs have delinquency rates that equal those of subprime loans, 30% to 40%.

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