Bank of America Corp.'s credit standards for jumbo mortgages may have slipped as a result of the merger between the old BankAmerica and NationsBank Corp., according to Moody's Investors Service. Moody's is insisting on more credit enhancement before it will award an AAA rating to Bank of America jumbo mortgage pools and said in a recent report that in the near term "uncertainty will be the watchword'' concerning the pools' credit quality.

Bank of America's credit enhancement level was hiked to 4.5% to 5%, from the 4% level it had before the merger, Moody's said. The credit enhancement percentages reflect the amount of subordinate classes of bonds. These lower-rated bonds are designed to protect the AAA-rated securities. Most originators of jumbo loans have credit enhancements of 4% to 5.5%, the ratings agency said.

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