updated 1/26/2007 3:32:42 PM ET 2007-01-26T20:32:42

Bank of America Corp. and Countrywide Financial Corp. are in talks about an alliance that might lead to the mortgage lender being acquired by the No. 2 U.S. bank, the Financial Times said on its Web site Friday.

The companies are in talks about an alliance to create the biggest U.S. mortgage lender, the newspaper said, citing people close to the matter. While talks are at an early stage, they could lead to an acquisition of Countrywide, allowing Bank of America to expand its mortgage business to match its breadth in credit cards, the newspaper said.

Countrywide shares were up sharply in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange, while shares of Bank of America fell. Neither company could immediately be reached for comment.

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

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Data: Latest rates in the US

Home equity rates View rates in your area
Home equity type Today +/- Chart
$30K HELOC FICO 2.43%
$30K home equity loan FICO 5.80%
$75K home equity loan FICO 4.54%
Credit card rates View more rates
Card type Today +/- Last Week
Low Interest Cards 13.57%
13.57%
Cash Back Cards 17.91%
17.91%
Rewards Cards 17.15%
17.15%
Source: Bankrate.com