Countrywide's OKis expected today

Bank of America Corp.'s purchase of Countrywide Financial Corp. is expected to get the nod today from the mortgage lender's shareholders, the final step needed to approve the deal initially valued at $4 billion.

The purchase vaults the Charlotte bank to No. 1 in mortgages, but leaves it facing rising loan losses and legal bills from a company that played a central role in the nation's subprime mess. When announced in January, Countrywide shareholders were set to receive $7.16 per share. With the slide in Bank of America's stock price, they're getting about $4.85 per share as of Tuesday's close.

The shareholder meeting at Countrywide's Calabasas, Calif., headquarters starts at noon Eastern time. With approval, Bank of America has said it aims to close the deal July 1. Rick Rothacker