Bank of America Corporation (abbreviated as BofA) is an American
multinational financial services company headquartered in Charlotte,
North Carolina. It is ranked 2nd on the list of largest banks in the
United States by assets. As of 2016,
Bank of America was the 26th
largest company in the United States by total revenue. In 2016, it was
ranked #11 on the
Forbes Magazine Global 2000 list of largest
companies in the world.
Its acquisition of
Merrill Lynch in 2008 solidified it as a "Bulge
Bracket Bank", becoming the world's largest wealth management
corporation and a major player in the investment banking market. As
of December 31, 2017, it had US$1.081 trillion in assets under
As of December 31, 2016, the company held 10.73% of all bank deposits
in the United States. It is one of the Big Four banks in the United
States, along with Citigroup,
JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo—its
Bank of America operates—but does not
necessarily maintain retail branches—in all 50 states of the
United States, the
District of Columbia
District of Columbia and more than 40 other
countries. It has a retail banking footprint that serves approximately
46 million consumer and small business relationships at 4,600 banking
centers and 15,900 automated teller machines (ATMs).
Bank of America provides its products and services through 4,600
retail financial centers, approximately 15,900 automated teller
machines, call centers, and online and mobile banking platforms.
The bank's Consumer Real Estate Services segment offers consumer real
estate products comprising both fixed and adjustable-rate first-lien
mortgage loans for home purchase and refinancing needs, home equity
lines of credit, and home equity loans.
Bank of America has been the subject of many lawsuits and
investigations regarding both mortgages and financial disclosures
dating back to the financial crisis, including a record settlement of
$16.65 billion on August 21, 2014.
Bank of Italy
1.2 Expansion in California
1.3 Expansion outside California
1.4 Merger of Nations
Bank and BankAmerica
1.5 2001 to present
1.5.1 Acquisition of Countrywide Financial
1.5.2 Acquisition of Merrill Lynch
1.5.3 Federal Troubled
Asset Relief Program
1.5.4 Bonus settlement
1.5.6 Downsizing (2011 to 2014)
1.5.7 Sale of stake in China Construction Bank
1.5.8 $17 billion settlement with Justice Department
1.5.9 DOD Community Bank
1.6 Introduction of Erica
2.1 Consumer Banking
2.2 Global Banking
2.3 Global Wealth and Investment Management
2.4 Global Markets
2.5.1 International offices
3 Charitable efforts
5.2 Consumer credit controversies
5.5 Mortgage business
5.6 Accounts of Iranians frozen
5.7 Investment in mountaintop removal
6 Notable buildings
6.1 Former buildings
7 See also
9 Further reading
10 External links
Bank of Italy
Italy (United States)
The history of
Bank of America dates back to October 17, 1904, when
Amadeo Pietro Giannini founded the
Italy in San Francisco. The
Italy served the needs of many immigrants settling in the
United States at that time, providing services denied to them by the
existing American banks which typically discriminated against them and
often denied service to all but the wealthiest. Giannini was
raised by his mother and stepfather Lorenzo Scatena, as his father was
fatally shot over a pay dispute with an employee. When the 1906
San Francisco earthquake struck, Giannini was able to save all
deposits out of the bank building and away from the fires. Because San
Francisco's banks were in smoldering ruins and unable to open their
vaults, Giannini was able to use the rescued funds to commence lending
within a few days of the disaster. From a makeshift desk consisting of
a few planks over two barrels, he lent money to those who wished to
In 1922, Giannini established
Bank of America and Italy. In 1986,
Bank AG acquired 100% of Banca d'America e d'Italia, a bank
established in Naples in 1917 following the name-change of Banca
dell'Italia Meridionale with the latter established in 1918. In 1918
another corporation, Bancitaly Corporation, was organized by A. P.
Giannini, the largest stockholder of which was Stockholders Auxiliary
Corporation. This company acquired the stocks of various banks located
in New York City and certain foreign countries.
In 1928, Giannini merged his bank with
Bank of America, Los Angeles,
Orra E. Monnette
Orra E. Monnette and consolidated it with other bank
holdings to create what would become the largest banking institution
in the country.
Italy was renamed on November 3, 1930, to Bank
of America National Trust and Savings Association, which was the only
such designated bank in the United States of America at that time.
Giannini and Monnette headed the resulting company, serving as
Expansion in California
Branch banking was introduced by Giannini shortly after 1909
California that allowed for branch banking in the
state. Its first branch outside San Francisco was established in 1909
in San Jose. By 1929, the bank had 453 banking offices in California
with aggregate resources of over US$1.4 billion. There is a
replica of the 1909
Italy branch bank in History Park in San
Jose, and the 1925
Italy Building is an important downtown
landmark. Giannini sought to build a national bank, expanding into
most of the western states as well as into the insurance industry,
under the aegis of his holding company, Transamerica Corporation. In
1953, regulators succeeded in forcing the separation of Transamerica
Bank of America under the Clayton Antitrust Act.
The passage of the
Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 prohibited banks
from owning non-banking subsidiaries such as insurance companies. Bank
of America and Transamerica were separated, with the latter company
continuing in the insurance business. However, federal banking
Bank of America's interstate banking activity,
Bank of America's domestic banks outside
California were forced
into a separate company that eventually became First Interstate
Bancorp, later acquired by
Wells Fargo and Company in 1996. It was not
until the 1980s, with a change in federal banking legislation and
Bank of America was again able to expand its domestic
consumer banking activity outside California.
New technologies also allowed credit cards to be linked directly to
individual bank accounts. In 1958, the bank introduced the
BankAmericard, which changed its name to Visa in 1977. A
consortium of other
California banks introduced Master Charge (now
MasterCard) to compete with BankAmericard.
Expansion outside California
Following the passage of the
Bank Holding Company Act of 1956,
BankAmerica Corporation was established for the purpose of owning and
Bank of America and its subsidiaries.
Bank of America expanded outside
California in 1983, with its
acquisition, orchestrated in part by Stephen McLin, of Seafirst
Corporation of Seattle, Washington, and its wholly owned banking
subsidiary, Seattle-First National Bank. Seafirst was at risk of
seizure by the federal government after becoming insolvent due to a
series of bad loans to the oil industry. BankAmerica continued to
operate its new subsidiary as Seafirst rather than
Bank of America
until the 1998 merger with NationsBank.
BankAmerica experienced huge losses in 1986 and 1987 by the placement
of a series of bad loans in the Third World, particularly in Latin
America. The company fired its CEO, Sam Armacost. Though Armacost
blamed the problems on his predecessor, A.W. (Tom) Clausen, Clausen
was appointed to replace Armacost. The losses resulted in a huge
decline of BankAmerica stock, making it vulnerable to a hostile
First Interstate Bancorp
First Interstate Bancorp of Los Angeles (which had
originated from banks once owned by BankAmerica), launched such a bid
in the fall of 1986, although BankAmerica rebuffed it, mostly by
selling operations. It sold its FinanceAmerica subsidiary to Chrysler
and the brokerage firm Charles Schwab and Co. back to Mr. Schwab. It
Bank of America and
Italy to Deutsche Bank. By the time of
the 1987 stock market crash, BankAmerica's share price had fallen to
$8, but by 1992 it had rebounded mightily to become one of the biggest
gainers of that half-decade.
Bank of America Tower in New York City.
BankAmerica's next big acquisition came in 1992. The company acquired
California rival, Security Pacific Corporation and its subsidiary
Security Pacific National
California and other banks in
Arizona, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington (which Security Pacific had
acquired in a series of acquisitions in the late 1980s). This was, at
the time, the largest bank acquisition in history. Federal regulators,
however, forced the sale of roughly half of Security Pacific's
Washington subsidiary, the former Rainier Bank, as the combination of
Seafirst and Security Pacific Washington would have given BankAmerica
too large a share of the market in that state. The Washington branches
were divided and sold to West One Bancorp (now U.S. Bancorp) and
KeyBank. Later that year, BankAmerica expanded into Nevada by
Bank of Nevada.
In 1994, BankAmerica acquired the Continental
Illinois National Bank
and Trust Co. of Chicago, which had become federally owned as part of
the same oil industry debacle emanating from Oklahoma City's Penn
Square Bank, that had brought down numerous financial institutions
including Seafirst. At the time, no bank possessed the resources to
bail out Continental, so the federal government operated the bank for
nearly a decade.
Illinois at that time regulated branch banking
extremely heavily, so
Bank of America
Illinois was a single-unit bank
until the 21st century. BankAmerica moved its national lending
department to Chicago in an effort to establish a financial beachhead
in the region.
Bank of America branch building towers over
Interstate 410 in San Antonio, Texas.
These mergers helped BankAmerica Corporation to once again become the
largest U.S. bank holding company in terms of deposits, but the
company fell to second place in 1997 behind North Carolina's
Bank Corporation, and to third in 1998 First Union
On the capital markets side, the acquisition of Continental Illinois
helped BankAmerica to build a leveraged finance origination and
distribution business (Continental
Illinois had extensive leveraged
lending relationships) which allowed the firm's existing
broker-dealer, BancAmerica Securities (originally named BA
Securities), to become a full-service franchise. In addition,
in 1997, BankAmerica acquired Robertson Stephens, a San
Francisco–based investment bank specializing in high technology for
Robertson Stephens was integrated into BancAmerica
Securities and the combined subsidiary was renamed BancAmerica
Merger of Nations
Bank and BankAmerica
Logo of the former
Bank of America (BA), 1969–1998
Bank of America lent D. E. Shaw & Co., a large hedge
fund, $1.4 billion in order to run various businesses for the
bank. However, D.E. Shaw suffered significant loss after the 1998
Russia bond default. Nations
Bank of Charlotte acquired
BankAmerica in October 1998 in what was the largest bank acquisition
in history at that time.
Bank was the nominal survivor, the merged bank took the
better-known name of
Bank of America. Hence, the holding company was
Bank of America Corporation, while NationsBank, N.A. merged
Bank of America NT&SA to form
Bank of America, N.A. as the
remaining legal bank entity. The combined bank still operates under
Federal Charter 13044, which was granted to Giannini's
Bank of Italy
on March 1, 1927. However, the merged company is headquartered in
Charlotte and retains NationsBank's pre-1998 stock price history.
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
filings before 1998 are listed under NationsBank, not
Bank of America.
Bank president, chairman and
Hugh McColl took on the same
roles with the merged company.
Bank of America possessed combined assets of $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. (Branch divestitures are only
required if the combined company will have a larger than 25% Federal
Insurance Corporation (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
Robertson Stephens and NationsBanc Montgomery Securities,
Banc of America Securities
Banc of America Securities in 1998.
2001 to present
Bank of America local office in Los Angeles
In 2001, McColl stepped down and named Ken Lewis as his successor.
Bank of America announced it would purchase Boston-based bank
FleetBoston Financial for $47 billion in cash and stock. By
Bank of America, all of its banks and branches were given
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
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
Bank of America a leading domestic and foreign credit card
issuer. 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
America the operation was renamed FIA Card Services.
Bank of America footprint
Bank of America operated under the name
BankBoston in many other Latin
American countries, including Brazil. In 2006,
Bank of America sold
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 (ending the
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
Uruguay. The deal was signed in August 2006 under which Itaú agreed
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.
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,
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
ABN AMRO for
$21 billion. With this purchase,
Bank of America possessed
$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. Many of LaSalle's branches and offices had already taken over
smaller regional banks within the previous decade, such as Lansing and
Michigan National Bank.
The deal increased
Bank of America's presence in Illinois, Michigan,
Indiana by 411 branches, 17,000 commercial bank clients,
1.4 million retail customers, and 1,500 ATMs.
Bank of America
became the largest bank in the Chicago market with 197 offices and 14%
of the deposit share, surpassing JPMorgan Chase.
Bank and LaSalle
Bank Midwest branches adopted the
America name on May 5, 2008.
Ken Lewis, who had lost the title of
Chairman of the Board, announced
that he would retire as
CEO effective December 31, 2009, in part due
to controversy and legal investigations concerning the purchase of
Brian Moynihan became President and
January 1, 2010, and afterward credit card charge offs and
delinquencies declined in January.
Bank of America also repaid the
$45 billion it had received from the Troubled Assets Relief
Acquisition of Countrywide Financial
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
On January 11, 2008,
Bank of America announced that it would buy
Countrywide Financial for $4.1 billion. In March 2008, it was
reported that the
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was
investigating Countrywide for possible fraud relating to home loans
and mortgages. This news did not hinder 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 $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.
Chart showing the trajectory of BOA share value and transaction volume
during the 2007–2009 Financial Crisis
In December 2011, the Justice Department announced a $335 million
Bank of America over discriminatory lending practice
at Countrywide Financial.
Eric Holder said a federal
probe found discrimination against qualified
Latino borrowers from 2004 to 2008. He said that minority borrowers
who qualified for prime loans were steered into higher-interest-rate
Acquisition of Merrill Lynch
On September 14, 2008,
Bank of America announced its intention to
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 Brothers filed for bankruptcy the same day
America announced its plans to acquire Merrill Lynch. This
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
Bank of America, with a 3% stake. However, taking
Reuters estimated at $3 billion, the
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 the then Merrill Lynch's CEO,
John 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, head of sales and
The bank, in its January 16, 2009 earnings release, revealed massive
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
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
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
Lewis' statement is backed up by 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
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 quarter one in 2009, and
over 25% in quarter 3 2009.
On September 28, 2012,
Bank of America settled the class action
lawsuit over the
Merrill Lynch acquisition and will pay $2.43
billion. This was one of the first major securities class action
lawsuits stemming from the financial crisis of 2007–2008 to settle.
Many major financial institutions had a stake in this lawsuit,
including Chicago Clearing Corporation, hedge funds, and bank trusts,
due to the belief that
Bank of America stock was a sure investment.
Asset Relief Program
Bank of America received $20 billion in the federal bailout from
the U.S. government through the Troubled
Asset Relief Program (TARP)
on January 16, 2009, and a guarantee of $118 billion in potential
losses at the company. This was in addition to the
$25 billion given to them in the fall of 2008 through TARP. The
additional payment was part of a deal with the U.S. government to
Bank of America's merger with the troubled investment firm
Merrill Lynch. Since then, members of the U.S. Congress have
expressed considerable concern about how this money has been spent,
especially since some of the recipients have been accused of misusing
the bailout money. Then
CEO Ken Lewis was quoted as claiming "We
are still lending, and we are lending far more because of the TARP
program." Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, however, were
skeptical and quoted many anecdotes about loan applicants
(particularly small business owners) being denied loans and credit
card holders facing stiffer terms on the debt in their card accounts.
According to a March 15, 2009, article in The New York Times,
America received an additional $5.2 billion in government bailout
money, channeled through American International Group.
As a result of its federal bailout and management problems, The Wall
Street Journal reported that the
Bank of America was operating under a
secret "memorandum of understanding" (MOU) from the U.S. government
that requires it to "overhaul its board and address perceived problems
with risk and liquidity management". With the federal action, the
institution has taken several steps, including arranging for six of
its directors to resign and forming a Regulatory Impact Office. Bank
of America faces several deadlines in July and August and if not met,
could face harsher penalties by federal regulators.
Bank of America
did not respond to The
Wall Street Journal story.
On December 2, 2009,
Bank of America announced it would repay the
entire $45 billion it received in TARP and exit the program,
using $26.2 billion of excess liquidity along with
$18.6 billion to be gained in "common equivalent securities"
(Tier 1 capital). The bank announced it had completed the repayment on
Bank of America's Ken Lewis said during the announcement,
"We appreciate the critical role that the U.S. government played last
fall in helping to stabilize financial markets, and we are pleased to
be able to fully repay the investment, with interest.... As America's
largest bank, we have a responsibility to make good on the taxpayers'
investment, and our record shows that we have been able to fulfill
that commitment while continuing to lend."
On August 3, 2009,
Bank of America agreed to pay a $33 million
fine, without admission or denial of charges, to the U.S. Securities
and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the non-disclosure of an agreement
to pay up to $5.8 billion of bonuses at Merrill. The bank
approved the bonuses before the merger but did not disclose them to
its shareholders when the shareholders were considering approving the
Merrill acquisition, in December 2008. The issue was originally
New York State
New York State
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who
commented after the suit and announced settlement that "the timing of
the bonuses, as well as the disclosures relating to them, constituted
a 'surprising fit of corporate irresponsibility'" and "our
investigation of these and other matters pursuant to New York's Martin
Act will continue." Congressman Kucinich commented at the same time
that "This may not be the last fine that
Bank of America pays for how
it handled its merger of Merrill Lynch." A federal judge, Jed
Rakoff, in an unusual action, refused to approve the settlement on
August 5. A first hearing before the judge on August 10 was at
times heated, and he was "sharply critic[al]" of the bonuses. David
Rosenfeld represented the SEC, and Lewis J. Liman, son of Arthur L.
Liman, represented the bank. The actual amount of bonuses paid was
$3.6 billion, of which $850 million was "guaranteed" and the
rest was shared amongst 39,000 workers who received average payments
of $91,000; 696 people received more than $1 million in bonuses;
at least one person received a more than $33 million bonus.
On September 14, the judge rejected the settlement and told the
parties to prepare for trial to begin no later than February 1, 2010.
The judge focused much of his criticism on the fact that the fine in
the case would be paid by the bank's shareholders, who were the ones
that were supposed to have been injured by the lack of disclosure. He
wrote, "It is quite something else for the very management that is
accused of having lied to its shareholders to determine how much of
those victims’ money should be used to make the case against the
management go away," ... "The proposed settlement," the judge
continued, "suggests a rather cynical relationship between the
parties: the S.E.C. gets to claim that it is exposing wrongdoing on
the part of the
Bank of America in a high-profile merger; the bank's
management gets to claim that they have been coerced into an onerous
settlement by overzealous regulators. And all this is done at the
expense, not only of the shareholders, but also of the truth."
While ultimately deferring to the SEC, in February 2010, Judge Rakoff
approved a revised settlement with a $150 million fine
"reluctantly", calling the accord "half-baked justice at best" and
"inadequate and misguided". Addressing one of the concerns he raised
in September, the fine will be "distributed only to
Bank of America
shareholders harmed by the non-disclosures, or 'legacy shareholders',
an improvement on the prior $33 million while still "paltry",
according to the judge. Case: SEC v.
Bank of America Corp.,
09-cv-06829, United States District Court for the Southern District of
Investigations also were held on this issue in the United States House
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, under chairman
Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and in its investigative Domestic Policy
Subcommittee under Kucinich.
In 2010, the U.S. government accused the bank of defrauding schools,
hospitals, and dozens of state and local government organizations via
misconduct and illegal activities involving the investment of proceeds
from municipal bond sales. As a result, the bank agreed to pay
$137.7 million, including $25 million to the Internal
Revenue service and $4.5 million to state attorney general, to
the affected organizations to settle the allegations.
Former bank official Douglas Campbell pleaded guilty to antitrust,
conspiracy and wire fraud charges. As of January 2011, other bankers
and brokers are under indictment or investigation.
On October 24, 2012, the top federal prosecutor in
Manhattan filed a
lawsuit alleging that
Bank of America fraudulently cost American
taxpayers more than $1 billion when
Countrywide Financial sold toxic
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The scheme was called
'Hustle', or High Speed Swim Lane. On May 23, 2016 the Second
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the finding of fact by the
jury that low quality mortgages were supplied by Countrywide to Fannie
Freddie Mac in the "Hustle" case supported only "intentional
breach of contract," not fraud. The action, for civil fraud, relied on
provisions of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and
Enforcement Act. The decision turned on lack of intent to defraud at
the time the contract to supply mortgages was made.
Downsizing (2011 to 2014)
Bank of America began conducting personnel reductions of
an estimated 36,000 people, contributing to intended savings of $5
billion per year by 2014.
In December 2011,
Bank of America's financial health
91st out of the nation's largest 100 banks and thrift
Bank of America cut around 16,000 jobs in a quicker fashion by the end
of 2012 as revenue continued to decline because of new regulations and
a slow economy. This put a plan one year ahead of time to eliminate
30,000 jobs under a cost-cutting program, called Project New BAC.
In the first quarter of 2014, Berkshire bank purchased 20
America branches in Central and eastern New York for 14.4 million
dollars. The branches were from Utica/Rome region and down the Mohawk
Valley east to the capital region.
In April and May 2014,
Bank of America sold two dozen branches in
Michigan to Huntington Bancshares. The locations were converted to
Bank branches in September.
As part of its new strategy
Bank of America is focused on growing its
mobile banking platform. As of 2014,
Bank of America has 31 million
active online users and 16 million mobile users. Its retail banking
branches have decreased to 4,900 as a result of increased mobile
banking use and a decline in customer branch visits.
Sale of stake in China Construction Bank
Bank of America acquired a 9% stake in China Construction
Bank, one of the Big Four banks in China, for $3 billion. It
represented the company's largest foray into China's growing banking
Bank of America has offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and
Guangzhou and was looking to greatly expand its Chinese business as a
result of this deal. In 2008,
Bank of America was awarded Project
Finance Deal of the Year at the 2008 ALB Hong Kong Law Awards. In
Bank of America announced plans to divest most of its
stake in the China Construction Bank.
In September 2013,
Bank of America sold its remaining stake in the
Bank for as much as $1.5 billion, marking the
firm's full exit from the country.
$17 billion settlement with Justice Department
In August 2014,
Bank of America agreed to a near-$17 billion deal to
settle claims against it relating to the sale of toxic mortgage-linked
securities including subprime home loans, in what was believed to be
the largest settlement in U.S. corporate history. The bank agreed with
the U.S. Justice Department to pay $9.65 billion in fines, and $7
billion in relief to the victims of the faulty loans which included
homeowners, borrowers, pension funds and municipalities. Real
estate economist Jed Kolko said the settlement is a "drop in the
bucket" compared to the $700 billion in damages done to 11 million
homeowners. Since the settlement covered such a substantial portion of
the market, he said for most consumers "you're out of luck."
Much of the government's prosecution was based on information provided
by three whistleblowers – Shareef Abdou (a senior vice president at
the bank), Robert Madsen (a professional appraiser employed by a bank
subsidiary) and Edward O'Donnell (a
Fannie Mae official). The three
men received $170 million in whistleblower awards.
DOD Community Bank
Bank of America has formed a partnership with the United States
Department of Defense creating a newly chartered bank DOD Community
Bank ("Community Bank") providing full banking services to
military personnel at 68 branches and ATM locations on U.S.
military installations in
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base Cuba, Diego
Garcia, Germany, Japan, Italy, Kwajalein Atoll, South Korea, the
Netherlands and the United Kingdom. It should be noted that even
Bank of America operates Community
Bank customer services are
not interchangeable between the two financial institutions,
meaning a Community
Bank customer cannot go to a
Bank of America
branch and withdraw from their account and vice versa. Deposits made
into checking and savings accounts are insured by the Federal Deposit
Insurance Corporation up to $250,000 despite the fact that none of
Community's operating branches are located within the jurisdictional
borders of the United States.
Introduction of Erica
At the Money 20/20 conference in October 2016, retail banking
president Thong Nguyen introduced a digital assistant called Erica,
whose name comes from the bank name. Starting in 2017, customers will
be able to use voice or text to communicate with Erica and get advice,
check balances and pay bills. Unlike the people who work for the bank,
Erica will be available 24/7. Digital banking head Michelle Moore said
the technology was designed to help customers do a better job of
Forrester analyst Peter Wannemacher says bank customer experiences
with the technology have been "uneven or poor," but
Bank of America
intends to adapt Erica as needed.
Bank of America branch in Washington, D.C.
Bank of America generates 90% of its revenues in its domestic market.
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
Consumer Banking, the largest division in the company, provides
financial services to consumers and small businesses including,
banking, investments and lending products including business loans,
mortgages, and credit cards. It provides for investing online through
its electronic trading platform, Merrill Edge. The consumer banking
division represented 38% of the company's total revenue in 2016.
The company earns revenue from interest income, service charges, and
fees. The company is also a mortgage servicer. It competes primarily
with the retail banking arms of America's three other megabanks:
Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. The Consumer Banking
organization includes over 4,600 retail financial centers and
approximately 15,900 automated teller machines.
Bank of America is a member of the Global ATM Alliance, a joint
venture of several major international banks that provides for reduced
fees for consumers using their ATM card or check card at another bank
Global ATM Alliance when traveling internationally. This
feature is restricted to withdrawals using a debit card and users are
still subject to foreign currency conversion fees, credit card
withdrawals are still subject to cash advance fees and foreign
currency conversion fees.
Bank of America Tower, located on
Laura Street in Jacksonville,
The Global Banking division provides banking services, including
investment banking and lending products to businesses. It includes the
businesses of Global Corporate Banking, Global Commercial Banking,
Business Banking, and Global Investment Banking. The division
represented 22% of the company's revenue in 2016.
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
The Global Wealth and Investment Management (GWIM) division manages
investment assets of institutions and individuals. It includes the
Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management and U.S. Trust
and represented 21% of the company's total revenue in 2016. It is
among the 10 largest U.S. wealth managers. It has over $2.5 trillion
in client balances. GWIM has five primary lines of business:
Premier Banking & Investments (including
Bank of America
Investment Services, Inc.), The Private Bank, Family Wealth Advisors,
Bank of America Specialist.
The Global Markets division offers services to institutional clients,
including trading in financial securities. The division provides
research and other services such as market maker and risk management
using derivatives. The division represented 19% of the company's total
revenues in 2016.
Bank of America principal executive offices are located in the
Bank of America Corporate Center, Charlotte, North Carolina. The
skyscraper is located at 100 North Tryon Street, and stands at
871 ft (265 m), having been completed in 1992.
Bank of America cut ties to the American Legislative Exchange
Bank of America's Global Corporate and Investment Banking has its U.S.
headquarters in New York, European headquarters in London, and Asian
headquarters in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Bank of America volunteers at the Los Angeles LGBT pride parade in
In 2007, the bank offered employees a $3,000 rebate for the purchase
of hybrid vehicles. The company also provided a $1,000 rebate or a
lower interest rate 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. In 2010,
the bank completed construction of the 1
Bank of America Center in
Charlotte center city. The tower, and accompanying hotel, is a
Bank of America has also donated money to help health centers in
Massachusetts and made a $1 million donation in 2007 to help
homeless shelters in Miami.
In 1998, the bank made a ten-year commitment of $350 billion to
provide affordable mortgage, build affordable housing, support small
business and create jobs in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
In 2004, the bank pledged $750 million over a ten-year period for
community development lending and affordable housing programs.
In August 2011,
Bank of America was sued for $10 billion by American
International Group. Another lawsuit filed in September 2011 pertained
to $57.5 billion in mortgage-backed securities
Bank of America sold to
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That December,
Bank of America agreed
to pay $335 million to settle a federal government claim that
Countrywide Financial had discriminated against Hispanic and
African-American homebuyers from 2004 to 2008, prior to being acquired
by BofA. In September 2012, BofA settled out of court for $2.4
billion in a class action lawsuit filed by BofA shareholders who felt
they were misled about the purchase of Merrill Lynch.
On February 9, 2012, it was announced that the five largest mortgage
Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells
Fargo) agreed to a historic settlement with the federal government and
49 states. The settlement, known as the National Mortgage
Settlement (NMS), required the servicers to provide about $26 billion
in relief to distressed homeowners and in direct payments to the
states and federal government. This settlement amount makes the NMS
the second largest civil settlement in U.S. history, only trailing the
Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. The five banks were also
required to comply with 305 new mortgage servicing standards. Oklahoma
held out and agreed to settle with the banks separately.
On October 24, 2012, American federal prosecutors filed a $1 billion
civil lawsuit against
Bank of America for mortgage fraud under the
False Claims Act, which provides for possible penalties of triple the
damages suffered. The government asserted that Countrywide, which was
Bank of America, rubber-stamped mortgage loans to risky
borrowers and forced taxpayers to guarantee billions of bad loans
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The suit was filed by Preet
Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, the inspector
FHFA and the special inspector for the Troubled Asset
Relief Program. In March 2014,
Bank of America settled the suit
by agreeing to pay $6.3 billion to
Fannie Mae and
Freddie Mac and to
buy back around $3.2 billion worth of mortgage bonds.
In April 2014, the
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) ordered
Bank of America to provide and estimated $727 million in relief to
consumers harmed by practices related to credit card add-on products.
According to the Bureau, roughly 1.4 million customers were affected
by deceptive marketing of add-on products and 1.9 million customers
were illegally charged for credit monitoring and reporting services
they were not receiving. The deceptive marketing misconduct involved
telemarketing scripts containing misstatements and off-script sales
pitches made by telemarketers that were misleading and omitted
pertinent information. The unfair billing practices involved billing
customers for privacy related products without having the
authorization necessary to perform the credit monitoring and credit
report retrieval services. As a result, the company billed customers
for services they did not receive, unfairly charged consumers for
interest and fees, illegally charged approximately 1.9 million
accounts, and failed to provide the product benefit.
A $7.5 million settlement was reached in April 2014 with former chief
financial officer for
Bank of America, Joe L. Price, over allegations
that the bank's management withheld material information related to
its 2008 merger with Merrill Lynch. In August 2014, the United
States Department of Justice and the bank agreed to a $16.65 billion
agreement over the sale of risky, mortgage-backed securities before
the Great Recession; the loans behind the securities were transferred
to the company when it acquired banks such as
Merrill Lynch and
Countrywide in 2008. As a whole, the three firms provided $965
billion of mortgage-backed securities from 2004–2008. The
settlement was structured to give $7 billion in consumer relief and
$9.65 billion in penalty payments to the federal government and state
governments; California, for instance, received $300 million to
recompense public pension funds. The settlement was the
largest in United States history between a single company and the
Parmalat SpA is a multinational Italian dairy and food corporation.
Following Parmalat's 2003 bankruptcy, the company sued
Bank of America
for $10 billion, alleging the bank profited from its knowledge of
Parmalat's financial difficulties. The parties announced a settlement
in July 2009, resulting in
Bank of America paying Parmalat
$98.5 million in October 2009. In a related case, on
April 18, 2011, an Italian court acquitted
Bank of America and three
other large banks, along with their employees, of charges they
Parmalat in concealing its fraud, and of lacking sufficient
internal controls to prevent such frauds. Prosecutors did not
immediately say whether they would appeal the rulings. In Parma, the
banks were still charged with covering up the fraud.
Consumer credit controversies
In January 2008,
Bank of America began notifying some customers
without payment problems that their interest rates were more than
doubled, up to 28%. The bank was criticized for raising rates on
customers in good standing, and for declining to explain why it had
done so. In September 2009, a
Bank of America credit card
customer, Ann Minch, posted a video on YouTube criticizing the bank
for raising her interest rate. After the video went viral, she was
contacted by a
Bank of America representative who lowered her rate.
The story attracted national attention from television and internet
commentators. More recently, the bank has been
criticized for allegedly seizing three properties that were not under
their ownership, apparently due to incorrect addresses on their legal
In October 2009,
Julian Assange of
WikiLeaks claimed that his
organization possessed a 5 gigabyte hard drive formerly used by a Bank
of America executive and that Wikileaks intended to publish its
In November 2010,
Forbes published an interview with Assange in which
he stated his intent to publish information which would turn a major
U.S. bank "inside out". In response to this announcement,
America stock dropped 3.2%.
In December 2010,
Bank of America announced that it would no longer
service requests to transfer funds to WikiLeaks, stating that
Bank of America joins in the actions previously announced by
MasterCard, PayPal, Visa
Europe and others and will not process
transactions of any type that we have reason to believe are intended
for WikiLeaks... This decision is based upon our reasonable belief
WikiLeaks may be engaged in activities that are, among other
things, inconsistent with our internal policies for processing
Later in December, it was announced that
Bank of America purchased
more than 300 Internet domain names in an attempt to preempt bad
publicity that might be forthcoming in the anticipated WikiLeaks
release. The domain names included as BrianMoynihanBlows.com,
BrianMoynihanSucks.com and similar names for other top executives of
Sometime before August 2011,
WikiLeaks claimed that 5 GB of
America leaks was part of the deletion of over 3500 communications by
Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a now ex-
On March 14, 2011, one or more members of the decentralized collective
Anonymous began releasing emails it said were obtained from
America. According to the group, the emails documented "corruption and
fraud", and relate to the issue of improper foreclosures. The source,
identified publicly as Brian Penny, was a former LPI Specialist
from Balboa Insurance, a firm which used to be owned by the bank, but
was sold to Australian Reinsurance Company QBE.
In 2010 the state of
Arizona launched an investigation into
America for misleading homeowners who sought to modify their mortgage
loans. According to the attorney general of Arizona, the bank
"repeatedly has deceived" such mortgagors. In response to the
investigation, the bank has given some modifications on the condition
that the homeowners refrain from criticizing the bank. In 2011 the
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Department of Housing and Urban Development inspector general
claimed that the bank was blocking access to employees and data in
order to slow down an investigation into its alleged misdeeds.
Accounts of Iranians frozen
In May 2014 many Iranian students in the U.S. and some
American-Iranian citizens realized their accounts have been frozen by
Bank of America. Although
Bank of America denied to reveal any
information or reason regarding this, some Iranians believe that it is
related to sanctions against Iran. Although most account holders
say they did not receive any notification prior their accounts being
Bank of America insists that they do not freeze any account
without prior notification.
Investment in mountaintop removal
Bank of America has been criticized for its heavy investment in the
environmentally damaging processes of coal mining, especially through
mountaintop removal (MTR). On May 6, 2015, the company announced
that it would "reduce [its] credit exposure ... to the coal mining
industry," i.e. reduce its financing of companies engaging in MTR,
coal mining, and coal power production. The company stated that
pressure to divest from universities and environmental groups led to
this policy change.
Bank of America Plaza, the tallest building in Atlanta
Bank of America Stadium, home to the
Carolina Panthers of the NFL
Notable buildings which
Bank of America currently occupies include:
Bank of America Tower in Phoenix, Arizona
Bank of America Center in Los Angeles
Transamerica Pyramid, in San Francisco
California Street, formerly the
Bank of America Center and world
headquarters, in San Francisco
Bank of America Plaza in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Bank of America Tower in Jacksonville, Florida
Bank of America Financial Center (Brickell) and
Bank of America Museum
Tower (Downtown Miami) in Miami, Florida
Bank of America Center in Orlando, Florida
Bank of America Tower in St. Petersburg, Florida
Bank of America Plaza in Tampa, Florida
Bank of America Plaza in Atlanta, Georgia
Bank of America Building, formerly the LaSalle
Bank Building in
One City Center, often called the
Bank of America building due to
signage rights, in Portland, Maine
Bank of America Building in Baltimore, Maryland
Bank of America Plaza in St Louis, Missouri
Bank of America Tower in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Bank of America Tower in New York City
Bank of America Corporate Center in
Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina (the
Bank of America Plaza in Charlotte, North Carolina
Bank of America Plaza in Dallas, Texas
Bank of America Center in Houston, Texas
Bank of America Tower in Midland, Texas
Bank of America Plaza in San Antonio, Texas
Bank of America Fifth Avenue Plaza in Seattle, Washington
Columbia Center in Seattle, Washington
Bank of America Tower in Hong Kong
City Place I, also known as United Healthcare Center, in Hartford,
Connecticut (the tallest building in Connecticut)
9454 Wilshire Boulevard
9454 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, California
Robert B. Atwood Building
Robert B. Atwood Building in
Anchorage, Alaska was at one time
Bank of America Center, renamed in conjunction with the
bank's acquisition of building tenant Security Pacific Bank. This
particular branch was later acquired by Alaska-based Northrim
moved across the street to the Linny Pacillo Parking Garage.
Bank of America Building (Providence) opened in 1928 as the
Industrial Trust Building and remains the tallest building in Rhode
Island. Through a number of mergers it was later known as the
Bank building and the Fleet
Bank building. The
building was leased by
Bank of America from 2004 to 2012 and has been
vacant since March 2013. The building is commonly known as the
Superman Building based on a popular belief that it was the model for
Daily Planet building in the
Superman comic books.
Miami Tower iconic in its appearance in
Miami Vice was known as
Bank of America Tower for many years. It is located in Downtown
Miami. On April 18, 2012, the AIA's Florida Chapter placed it on its
list of Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places as the
North Carolina portal
San Francisco Bay Area portal
List of members ATM Industry Association (ATMIA)
BAML Capital Partners
Bank of America (Asia)
Bank of America Canada
Calibuso, et al. v.
Bank of America Corp., et al.
List of bank mergers in United States
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