updated 12/7/2009 2:29:03 PM ET 2009-12-07T19:29:03

Bank of America Corp. said Monday it has provided mortgage relief through loan modifications for more than 600,000 homeowners since January 2008.

The renegotiated loans were done through its own programs and the government's Home Affordable Modification Program, the bank said.

Bank of America has concluded more than 450,000 loan modifications since January 2008 under its own programs. That includes about 225,000 modifications so far this year.

Through the government program and others, Bank of America said it has provided $215 billion to refinance existing mortgages.

Bank of America was one of the hardest hit by the economic downturn. It received an initial $25 billion at the peak of the credit crisis last fall shortly after Lehman Brothers collapsed. It received another $20 billion in early January to help absorb losses at Merrill Lynch, which Bank of America had acquired.

Controversy surrounding the purchase of Merrill Lynch, including bonus payments made to Merrill employees, led to sharp criticism of then-CEO Ken Lewis.

Lewis retired Dec. 31 and Bank of America has struggled to find a successor because of pay restrictions handed down by the government as part of the bailout program.

Bank of America announced last week plans to use available cash and raise $18.8 billion in capital to repay the $45 billion in government assistance.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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