Reid says Bank of America opening mortgage modification centers

Bank of America, one of the biggest home loan servicers in Nevada, will open three centers here to help homeowners trying to avoid foreclosure, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid said Thursday.

The centers will be located in Las Vegas, Henderson and Reno, he said. Also, the giant national bank will secure a toll-free number that struggling homeowners in Nevada can call.

Reid said the bank promised to open the centers and offer a toll-free number after he spoke to Brian Moynihan, chief executive officer of BankAmerica Corp.

Bank of America previously "failed to provide adequate help" to Nevada homeowners who have difficulty making mortgage payments, Reid said in a statement.

"I am glad Bank of America has finally agreed to step up and provide this much-needed assistance," he said.

Chase Bank opened a mortgage modification center in Las Vegas in March last year and began operating a second one in Henderson last week.

"A mobile team of (Bank of America) home retention associates has been based in Las Vegas, Nevada, since January," spokesman Jumana Bauwens said in an e-mail.

He counted 13,000 Nevada customers who received permanent modifications of mortgage loans.

Michele Johnson, chief executive officer of Consumer Credit Counseling Service, said Bank of America workers operated out of her organization's offices initially.

Homeowners benefited by being able to talk with a Bank of America representative, but the workers here didn't have the authority to make decisions on home loan modification, she said. About half of the Nevada mortgage loans that Consumer Credit Counseling sees are serviced by Bank of America, Johnson said.

Separately, RealtyTrac, a foreclosure listing firm in Irvine, Calif., said late Thursday that Nevada posted the highest foreclosure rate in the U.S. in April, with one in every 69 households receiving a foreclosure notice. Foreclosures there were up 10 percent from March, but unchanged from a year earlier.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact reporter John G. Edwards at or 702-383-0420.