For months, as he endured hearings on Capitol Hill and fought off a series of lawsuits, Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis trudged through a post-apocalyptic financial landscape against a steady drumbeat of questions about his future. The deal he had called “the strategic opportunity of a lifetime” — his purchase/salvage of Merrill Lynch — had swung from an act of patriotism, keeping the American way of banking from utter ruin, to a scandal over Merrill losses and bonuses.
Dennis Kucinich pointed out at a Congressional hearing Thursday that Merrill’s weekly losses in mid-November were greater than the losses in mid-December, and that Bank of America boss Ken Lewis got weekly updates on the investment bank’s losses. Lawmakers repeatedly said Lewis must have known much earlier than he claims about the heavy losses at Merrill, which lost $15.84 billion in the fourth quarter of last year.
For Mark Tidwell and Charles Rawl, former employees who filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Texas billionaire Allen Stanford’s financial empire, this week’s move by U.S. securities regulators to charge Stanford and two associates with “massive, ongoing fraud” brought a certain kind of redemption. But for the thousands of investors who now cannot tap into their accounts until a court-appointed receiver sorts out claims, it could be a long wait.