People walk past a Bank of America branch in New York August 13, 2009. (File Photo) REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES BUSINESS)

Elinor Comlay and Rachelle Younglai
NEW YORK/WASHINGTON, Oct 13 (Reuters) – Bank of America Corp’s decision to hand over protected information on what it knew about Merrill Lynch before it merged paves the way for the bank to settle a number of federal investigations and start anew after Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis departs.