Bank of America gets $20 billion rescue
Share Now on:
TEXT OF STORY
Scott Jagow: Sorry, but this bank situation just keeps getting more perplexing. This morning, the government said it’s giving Bank of America another $20 billion. And here’s why: Last fall, the Feds encouraged B of A to buy Merrill Lynch. Bank of America was doing just fine at the time. Now it’s not. Today, B of A reported its first quarterly loss in 17 years, and cut its dividend to one penny. More now from Marketplace’s Jeremy Hobson.
Jeremy Hobson: Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis says most of the problem lies with Merrill Lynch’s fourth-quarter loss of more than $15 billion. The acquisition of Merrill came not long after B of A acquired the troubled mortgage lender Countrywide.
Lewis defended the moves in a conference call this morning:
Ken Lewis: Our acquisitions of both Countrywide and Merrill Lynch were directed at strengthening the franchise, but also contributed to marketplace stability.
Still, Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analytics says Lewis may be having second thoughts about those deals today.
Christopher Lewis: If Ken Lewis had somehow held back and not bought Countrywide and not agreed to this Merrill Lynch deal, he’d be sitting pretty. BA would be the most solid stable of the three largest banks.
Bank of America’s stock is up this morning, off of its lowest level in almost two decades.
In New York, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.