Countrywide Financial Corp. has sweetened annual bonus awards for a handful of its top executives as an incentive for them to remain with the mortgage lender as it goes through the process of being acquired by Bank of America Corp., according to regulatory filings Thursday, the Associated Press reports.

Countrywide's compensation committee has approved retention awards of cash and cash-settled restricted stock units for David Sambol, president and chief operating officer; Eric Sieracki, executive managing director and chief financial officer; Ranjit Kripalani, executive managing director, Capital Markets; and, Carlos M. Garcia, executive managing director, Banking and Insurance, according to the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The bonus portion of the incentive packages range between $2.5 million for Kripalani and $1.45 million for Garcia. The executives must remain with the company through at least March 15, when the bonuses are to be paid, according to the filing.

In this latest action, Countrywide's compensation committee did not designate a retention incentive bonus for Countrywide Chairman and Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo.

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