Bank of America Corp. said Monday that it extended nearly $184 billion in credit during the third quarter, as households and communities remain under financial strain.
In its latest lending and investing initiative report, home loans continue to be among the bank's priorities, with Bank of America extending $96 billion in first mortgages during the third quarter. The loans helped nearly 450,000 people purchase a home or refinance an existing mortgage, the bank said.
Among its loans in the quarter, the bank provided $7 billion in credit to municipalities and nonprofits that are struggling to keep pace with local needs and serve communities across the country.
In the business sector, Bank of America also extended $78 billion in small business and commercial loans in the third quarter.
"In all our work, from loan modifications to new lending and investing, a key theme is quality, not just quantity," outgoing CEO Ken Lewis said in the report. "The number of customers we serve is important, but making sure that modifications are sustainable, and that new loans satisfy sound underwriting requirements, are equally important."
In the third-quarter, Bank of America lost more than $2.2 billion as loan losses kept rising, providing evidence that consumers are still struggling to pay their bills.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank has about 53 million consumer and small business customers, making it vulnerable to delinquencies and defaults, yet also ready to thrive when the economy recovers.
Since the fourth quarter of 2008, Bank of America said it has extended $759 billion in new credit. The figure represents almost $17 for every dollar of the $45 billion the bank received under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, the bank said.
Bank of America is among hundreds of banks that have received government support through TARP. The bank received $25 billion as part of the initial round of investments when the credit crisis peaked last fall. It then received an additional $20 billion in January shortly after it acquired Merrill Lynch & Co. in a heavily scrutinized deal.
It's not known when the bank will repay the government the money.
Lewis, who is retiring at year's end, is believed to have decided leave the bank because of the strife that has surrounded BofA since the Merrill Lynch deal closed. The bank is currently searching for Lewis' replacement.