|Bank of America|
Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC, TYO: 8648) is an American global financial services company, the largest bank holding company in the United States, by assets, and the second largest bank by market capitalization. Bank of America serves clients in more than 150 countries and has a relationship with 99% of the U.S. Fortune 500 companies and 83% of the Fortune Global 500. The company is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and a component of both the S&P 500 Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
As of 2010, Bank of America is the 5th largest company in the United States by total revenue, as well as the second largest non-oil company in the U.S. (after Wal-Mart). In 2010, Forbes listed Bank of America as the 3rd "best" large company in the world.
The bank's 2008 acquisition of Merrill Lynch made Bank of America the world's largest wealth manager and a major player in the investment banking industry.
The company holds 12.2% of all U.S. deposits, as of August 2009, and is one of the Big Four banks of the United States, along with Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo—its main competitors. According to its 2010 annual report, Bank of America operates "in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and more than 40 non-U.S. countries." It has a "retail banking footprint" that "covers approximately 80 percent of the U.S. population and in the U.S." it serves "approximately 57 million consumer and small business relationships" at "5,900 banking centers" and "18,000 ATMs."
In 1997, BankAmerica lent D. E. Shaw & Co., a large hedge fund, $1.4 billion so that the hedge fund would run various businesses for the bank. However, D.E. Shaw suffered significant loss after the 1998 Russia bond default. BankAmerica was acquired by NationsBank in October 1998.
The purchase of BankAmerica Corp. by NationsBank Corporation was the largest bank acquisition in history at that time. While the deal was technically a purchase of BankAmerica Corporation by NationsBank, the deal was structured as merger with NationsBank renamed to Bank of America Corporation, and Bank of America NT&SA changing its name to Bank of America, N.A. as the remaining legal bank entity. The bank still operates under Federal Charter 13044, which was granted to Giannini's Bank of Italy on March 1, 1927. However, SEC filings before 1998 are listed under NationsBank, not BankAmerica.
Following the US$64.8 billion acquisition of BankAmerica by NationsBank, the resulting Bank of America had combined assets of US$570 billion, as well as 4,800 branches in 22 states. Despite the mammoth size of the two companies, federal regulators insisted only upon the divestiture of 13 branches in New Mexico, in towns that would be left with only a single bank following the combination. This is because branch divestitures are only required if the combined company will have a larger than 25% FDIC deposit market share in a particular state or 10% deposit market share overall. In addition, the combined broker-dealer, created from the integration of BancAmerica Robertson Stephens and NationsBanc Montgomery Securities, was renamed Banc of America Securities in 1998.
In 2001, Bank of America CEO and chairman Hugh McColl stepped down and named Ken Lewis as his successor.
In 2004, Bank of America announced it would purchase Boston-based bank FleetBoston Financial for $47 billion in cash and stock. By merging with Bank of America, all of its banks and branches were given the Bank of America logo. At the time of merger, FleetBoston was the seventh largest bank in United States with $197 billion in assets, over 20 million customers and revenue of $12 billion. Hundreds of FleetBoston workers lost their jobs or were demoted, according to the Boston Globe.
On June 30, 2005, Bank of America announced it would purchase credit card giant MBNA for $35 billion in cash and stock. The Federal Reserve Board gave final approval to the merger on December 15, 2005, and the merger closed on January 1, 2006. The acquisition of MBNA provided Bank of America a leading credit card issuer at home and abroad. The combined Bank of America Card Services organization, including the former MBNA, had more than 40 million U.S. accounts and nearly $140 billion in outstanding balances. Under Bank of America the operation was renamed FIA Card Services.
In May 2006, Bank of America and Banco Itaú (Investimentos Itaú S.A.) entered into an acquisition agreement through which Itaú agreed to acquire BankBoston's operations in Brazil and was granted an exclusive right to purchase Bank of America's operations in Chile and Uruguay. A deal was signed in August 2006 under which Itaú agreed to purchase Bank of America's operations in Chile and Uruguay. Prior to the transaction, BankBoston's Brazilian operations included asset management, private banking, a credit card portfolio, and small, middle-market, and large corporate segments. It had 66 branches and 203,000 clients in Brazil. BankBoston in Chile had 44 branches and 58,000 clients and in Uruguay it had 15 branches. In addition, there was a credit card company, OCA, in Uruguay, which had 23 branches. BankBoston N.A. in Uruguay, together with OCA, jointly served 372,000 clients. While the BankBoston name and trademarks were not part of the transaction, as part of the sale agreement, they cannot be used by Bank of America in Brazil, Chile or Uruguay following the transactions. Hence, the BankBoston name has disappeared from Brazil, Chile and Uruguay. The Itaú stock received by Bank of America in the transactions has allowed Bank of America's stake in Itaú to reach 11.51%. Banco de Boston de Brazil had been founded in 1947.
On November 20, 2006, Bank of America announced the purchase of The United States Trust Company for $3.3 billion, from the Charles Schwab Corporation. US Trust had about $100 billion of assets under management and over 150 years of experience. The deal closed July 1, 2007.
On September 14, 2007, Bank of America won approval from the Federal Reserve to acquire LaSalle Bank Corporation from Netherlands's ABN AMRO for $21 billion. With this combination Bank of America will have 1.7 trillion in assets. A Dutch court blocked the sale until it was later approved in July. The acquisition was completed on October 1, 2007.
The deal increased Bank of America's presence in Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana by 411 branches, 17,000 commercial bank clients, 1.4 million retail customers, and 1,500 ATMs. Bank of America has become the largest bank in the Chicago market with 197 offices and 14% of the deposit share, surpassing JPMorgan Chase.
LaSalle Bank and LaSalle Bank Midwest branches adopted the Bank of America name on May 5, 2008.
Ken Lewis resigned as of December 31, 2009, in part due to controversy and legal investigations concerning the purchase of Merrill Lynch, and Brian Moynihan became President and CEO effective January 1, 2010. After Moynihan assumed control, credit card charge offs and delinquencies declined in January. Bank of America also repaid the US$45 billion it had received from the Troubled Assets Relief Program.
On August 23, 2007 the company announced a $2 billion repurchase agreement for Countrywide Financial. This purchase of preferred stock was arranged to provide a return on investment of 7.25% per annum and provided the option to purchase common stock at a price of $18 per share.
On January 11, 2008, Bank of America announced they would buy Countrywide Financial for $4.1 billion. In March 2008, it was reported that the FBI was investigating Countrywide for possible fraud relating to home loans and mortgages. This news did not stop the acquisition, which was completed in July 2008, giving the bank a substantial market share of the mortgage business, and access to Countrywide's resources for servicing mortgages. The acquisition was seen as preventing a potential bankruptcy for Countrywide. Countrywide, however, denied that it was close to bankruptcy. Countrywide provided mortgage servicing for nine million mortgages valued at US$1.4 trillion as of December 31, 2007.
This purchase made Bank of America Corporation the leading mortgage originator and servicer in the U.S. , controlling 20–25% of the home loan market. The deal was structured to merge Countrywide with the Red Oak Merger Corporation, which Bank of America created as an independent subsidiary. It has been suggested that the deal was structured this way to prevent a potential bankruptcy stemming from large losses in Countrywide hurting the parent organization by keeping Countrywide bankruptcy remote. Countrywide Financial has changed its name to Bank of America Home Loans.
On September 14, 2008, Bank of America announced its intentions to purchase Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. in an all-stock deal worth approximately $50 billion. Merrill Lynch was at the time within days of collapse, and the acquisition effectively saved Merrill from bankruptcy. Around the same time Bank of America was reportedly also in talks to purchase Lehman Brothers, however a lack of government guarantees caused the bank to abandon talks with Lehman. Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy the same day Bank of America announced its plans to acquire Merrill Lynch. This acquisition made Bank of America the largest financial services company in the world. Temasek Holdings, the largest shareholder of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., briefly became one of the largest shareholders of Bank of America, with a 3% stake. However, taking a loss Reuters estimated at $3 billion, the Singapore sovereign wealth fund sold its whole stake in Bank of America in the first quarter of 2009.
Shareholders of both companies approved the acquisition on December 5, 2008, and the deal closed January 1, 2009. Bank of America had planned to retain various members of Thain's management team after the merger. However, after Thain was removed from his position, most of his allies left. The departure of Nelson Chai, who had been named Asia-Pacific president, left just one of Thain's hires in place, Tom Montag as head of sales and trading.
The Bank, in its January 16, 2009 earnings release, revealed massive losses at Merrill Lynch in the fourth quarter, which necessitated an infusion of money that had previously been negotiated with the government as part of the government-persuaded deal for the Bank to acquire Merrill. Merrill recorded an operating loss of $21.5 billion in the quarter, mainly in its sales and trading operations, led by Tom Montag. The Bank also disclosed it tried to abandon the deal in December after the extent of Merrill's trading losses surfaced, but was compelled to complete the merger by the U.S. government. The Bank's stock price sank to $7.18, its lowest level in 17 years, after announcing earnings and the Merrill mishap. The market capitalization of Bank of America, including Merrill Lynch, was then $45 billion, less than the $50 billion it offered for Merrill just four months earlier, and down $108 billion from the merger announcement.
Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis testified before Congress that he had some misgivings about the acquisition of Merrill Lynch, and that federal officials pressured him to proceed with the deal or face losing his job and endangering the bank's relationship with federal regulators.
Lewis' statement is backed up in internal emails subpoenaed by Republican lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee. In one of the emails, Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker threatened that if the acquisition did not go through, and later Bank of America were forced to request federal assistance, the management of Bank of America would be "gone". Other emails, read by Congressman Dennis Kucinich during the course of Lewis' testimony, state that Mr. Lewis had foreseen the outrage from his shareholders that the purchase of Merrill would cause, and asked government regulators to issue a letter stating that the government had ordered him to complete the deal to acquire Merrill. Lewis, for his part, states he didn't recall requesting such a letter.
The acquisition made Bank of America the number one underwriter of global high-yield debt, the third largest underwriter of global equity and the ninth largest adviser on global mergers and acquisitions. As the credit crisis eased, losses at Merrill Lynch subsided, and the subsidiary generated 3.7 billion of Bank of America's 4.2 billion in profit by the end of Q1 2009, and over 25% in the Q3 2009.
Bank of America generates 90% of its revenues in its domestic market and continues to buy businesses in the US. The core of Bank of America's strategy is to be the number one bank in its domestic market. It has achieved this through key acquisitions.
Global Consumer and Small Business Banking (GC&SBB) is the largest division in the company, and deals primarily with consumer banking and credit card issuance. The acquisition of FleetBoston and MBNA significantly expanded its size and range of services, resulting in about 51% of the company's total revenue in 2005. It competes primarily with the retail banking arms of America's three other megabanks: Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. The GC&SBB organization includes over 6,100 retail branches and over 18,700 ATMs across the United States.
Bank of America is a member of the Global ATM Alliance, a joint venture of several major international banks that allows customers of the banks to use their ATM card or check card at another bank within the Global ATM Alliance with no ATM access fees when traveling internationally. Other participating banks are Barclays (United Kingdom), BNP Paribas (France), Ukrsibbank (Ukraine), China Construction Bank (China), Deutsche Bank (Germany), Santander Serfin (Mexico), Scotiabank (Canada) and Westpac (Australia and New Zealand). This feature is restricted to withdrawals using a debit card, though credit card withdrawals are still subject to cash advance fees and foreign currency conversion fees. Additionally, some foreign ATMs use Smart Card technology and may not accept non-Smart Cards.
Bank of America offers banking and brokerage products as a result of the acquisition of Merrill Lynch. Savings programs such as "Add it Up" and "Keep the Change" have been well received and are a reflection of the product development banks have taken during the 2008 recession.
Bank of America, N.A is a nationally chartered bank, regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Department of the Treasury.
Before Bank of America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch, the Global Corporate and Investment Banking (GCIB) business operated as Banc of America Securities LLC. The bank's investment banking activities operate under the Merrill Lynch subsidiary and provided mergers and acquisitions advisory, underwriting, capital markets, as well as sales & trading in fixed income and equities markets. Its strongest groups include Leveraged Finance, Syndicated Loans, and mortgage-backed securities. It also has one of the largest research teams on Wall Street. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is headquartered in New York City.
Global Wealth and Investment Management manages assets of institutions and individuals. It is among the 10 largest U.S. wealth managers (ranked by private banking assets under management in accounts of $1 million or more as of June 30, 2005). In July 2006, Chairman Ken Lewis announced that GWIM's total assets under management exceeded $500 billion. GWIM has five primary lines of business: Premier Banking & Investments (including Bank of America Investment Services, Inc.), The Private Bank, Family Wealth Advisors, and Bank of America Specialist.
Bank of America has recently spent $675 million building its U.S. investment banking business and is looking to become one of the top five investment banks worldwide. "Bank of America already has excellent relationships with the corporate and financial institutions world. Its clients include 98% of the Fortune 500 companies in the US and 79% of the Global Fortune 500. These relationships, as well as a balance sheet that most banks would kill for, are the foundations for a lofty ambition."
Bank of America has a massive new headquarters for its New York City operations. The skyscaper is located on 42nd Street and Avenue of the Americas, at Bryant Park, and features state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly technology throughout its 2.1 million square feet (195,096 m²) of office space. The building is the headquarters for the company's investment banking division, and also hosts most of Bank of America's New York-based staff.
In 2005, Bank of America acquired a 9% stake in China Construction Bank, China's second largest bank, for $3 billion. It represented the company's largest foray into China's growing banking sector. Bank of America currently has offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Guangzhou and is looking to greatly expand its Chinese business as a result of this deal. In 2008, Bank of America was awarded Deal of the Year - Project Finance Deal of the Year at the 2008 ALB Hong Kong Law Awards.
In India, Bank of America maintains branches in Mumbai, Chennai, Calcutta, New Delhi, and Bangalore. For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006, Bank of America reported an 80% increase in net profit.
Bank of America operated under the name BankBoston in many other Latin American countries, including Brazil. In 2006, Bank of America sold all BankBoston's operations to Brazilian bank Banco Itaú, in exchange for Itaú shares. The BankBoston name and trademarks were not part of the transaction and, as part of the sale agreement, cannot be used by Bank of America. (That meant the extinction of the BankBoston brand.)
Bank of America's Global Corporate and Investment Banking spans the Globe with divisions in United States, Europe, and Asia. The U.S. headquarters are located in New York, European headquarters are based in London, and Asia's headquarters are based in Hong Kong.
In addition to its new eco-friendly office tower in Manhattan, Bank of America has pledged to spend billions on commercial lending and investment banking for projects that it considers "green". The corporation supplied all of its employees with cash incentives to buy hybrid vehicles, and began providing mortgage loan breaks for customers whose homes qualified as energy efficient. In 2007, Bank of America partnered with Brighter Planet to offer an eco-friendly credit card, and later a debit card, which help build renewable energy projects with each purchase. The corporation recently completed the new 1 Bank of America Center in Uptown Charlotte. The tower, and the accompanying hotel, will be a LEED-certified building.
Bank of America has also donated money to help health centers in Massachusetts and made donations to help homeless shelters in Miami.
In 2004, the bank pledged $750 billion over a ten-year period for community development lending and investment. The company had delivered more than $230 billion against a ten-year commitment of $350 billion made in 1998 to provide affordable mortgage, build affordable housing, support small business and create jobs in disadvantaged neighborhoods.