Commentaries

Ken Lewis and customer service

October 1, 2009

One of the problems with big bank mergers, the kind Ken Lewis championed throughout his career as CEO, is the lack of concern about customer service.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Good news: Another bailout ends

September 21, 2009

For $425 million, Bank of America has canceled its loss-share agreement.  WSJ:

Bank of America Corp. has agreed to pay $425 million to shelve a tentative loss-sharing pact designed to help the bank digest securities firm Merrill Lynch & Co., according to a person familiar with the situation...

BofA’s lawyers are very busy indeed

September 18, 2009

Is that seat hot enough for you yet, Mr. Lewis?

The CEO of Bank of America has another legal headache, the Charlotte Observer reports. The Justice Department and the FBI in Charlotte, N.C., are investigating the bank’s star-crossed acquisition of Merrill Lynch. the paper says. The report has few details about the investigation, other than it has been under way for six months:

from Rolfe Winkler:

Rakoff throws down the gauntlet

September 14, 2009

Judge Rakoff has rejected the settlement deal between the SEC and Bank of America. He clearly wasn't happy with it to begin with, and subsequent briefs from the two parties did nothing to allay his concerns. At the end of the day, he hated the idea that B of A shareholders, on whose behalf the SEC actually brought the case, would end up paying the fine for executives' wrongdoing.

Wall Street is being judged

September 8, 2009

Capitol Hill has yet to get its act together on financial regulatory reform. But another arm of the federal government, the judiciary, is emerging as the new best friend of investors.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Bailout “profit” is taxpayers’ loss

September 1, 2009

Charging a bank for an implicit government guarantee to absorb losses? According to the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Reserve and Treasury are demanding that Bank of America pay $500 million to exit a bailout deal that was never actually signed.

from Rolfe Winkler:

The infamous “disclosure schedule”

August 24, 2009

At the bottom is the SEC's latest brief for Judge Rakoff.

Having gone through BofA's, one finds --publicly disclosed for the first time -- the "disclosure schedule" that outlined bonuses BofA had agreed Merrill could pay:

from Rolfe Winkler:

SEC should get tougher with BofA

August 11, 2009

In the Bank of America Merrill Lynch bonus imbroglio, the SEC has proposed a settlement in which, once again, the defendants neither admit nor deny wrongdoing.

The SEC is still lame

August 11, 2009

Don’t believe the hype about the new sense of “urgency” at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Judge Rakoff wants facts! Notes from yesterday’s hearing

August 11, 2009

Hopped over to courtroom 14-B at 500 Pearl Street yesterday afternoon where I saw Judge Jed Rakoff hammer SEC and Bank of America lawyers over the proposed settlement regarding Merrill Lynch bonuses.