BofA carries loans $44 billion above market value

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bank of America Corp BAC.N is carrying loans on its balance sheet marked at more than $44 billion above their fair value, the company said in its annual report filed with U.S. regulators on Friday.

The bank said it ended 2008 with $886.2 billion in loans, but estimated the fair value -- or market price -- for these loans as $841.6 billion.

The bank intends to hold these loans to maturity, not for sale, said spokesman Scott Silvestri, explaining why the loans are marked above market value.

The report showed the bank struggled throughout the year as losses on consumer debt including mortgages, home equity and credit cards piled up.

Falling home prices prompted the bank to modify more than 230,000 mortgages in 2008 to help homeowners stay in their homes -- but the value of these mortgages has continued to fall.

Along with losses from mortgages and other consumer loans, the bank said it holds $6.45 billion in impaired commercial loans, up from $2.14 billion at the end of 2007, according to the report.

Separately, Bank of America’s investment bank lost more than $10 million on one in every four trading days in 2008.

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank has reported write-downs and credit losses of more than $60 billion since the credit crisis began in the middle of 2007.

Bank of America shares finished down more than 25 percent on Friday at $3.95, amid a broad rout of financial stocks after the announcement the government is converting its position in Citigroup Inc's C.N preferred stock to common shares to help restore investor confidence in that bank's capital position. Shares in Bank of America have fallen 72 percent since the start of the year.

Reporting by Elinor Comlay; Editing by Gary Hill