In a reversal, Bank of America Corp. replaced Andrew Gissinger III, the former No. 3 executive at Countrywide Financial Corp., with a longtime executive of the Charlotte, N.C., bank.

The move reinforced Bank of America's reliance on a cadre of insiders to lead the integration of the mortgage lender, which was acquired in July for $2.5 billion.

Mr. Gissinger had been put in charge by Bank of America of several groups responsible for selling mortgages to consumers. While at Countrywide, the former San Diego Chargers offensive tackle urged the embattled lender's employees to take a loyalty pledge and wear "Protect Our House" wristbands.

Mr. Gissinger couldn't be reached for comment. His replacement, Craig Buffie, "is the most qualified" to help lead the integration of Countrywide into Bank of America, a company spokesman said Tuesday.

Mr. Buffie, who has worked at Bank of America for 24 years, is a member of its management operating committee and previously was a senior human-resources executive.

Meanwhile, three other former Countrywide executives left the combined mortgage operation Monday, including Brian Hale, who had led the consumer-markets division at the Calabasas, Calif., company.

Countrywide's No. 2 executive, David Sambol, initially was tapped to run the mortgage business at Bank of America after the takeover. In May, though, Bank of America Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Lewis put Barbara Desoer atop the unit, displacing Mr. Sambol. Ms. Desoer, who relocated to Countrywide's former headquarters, is seen as a potential successor to Mr. Lewis, who reaches the mandatory retirement age of 65 years old in four years.

Despite the exits, former Countrywide executives represent "at least" half of Ms. Desoer's leadership team, the bank spokesman said. "They are clearly viewed as long-term players on the team," he said.

Tom Gamache and Russ Smith, also former Countrywide executives, were promoted as part of a change in the unit's organizational structure.

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