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B of A’s Lewis still faces investigations

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Bill Radke: Bank of America lost its CEO last week when Ken Lewis announced he’s retiring. This morning’s Wall Street Journal says B of A’s directors plan to settle this week on an emergency CEO pick in case Lewis has to step down early. As Marketplace’s Jeremy Hobson reports, Lewis is facing legal pressure.


JEREMY HOBSON: The trouble stems from Bank of America’s takeover of the investment bank Merrill Lynch last fall. Specifically, what Ken Lewis and other execs knew about Merrill bonuses and losses, and why that information wasn’t passed on to B of A shareholders before they voted to approve the deal.

Securities lawyer Bill Singer says Lewis is in the unenviable position of being the face of Bank of America.

Bill SINGER: I think the problem that Mr. Lewis has is while typically you would be mad at the institution, given that he had such a high-profile presence on the news, unfortunately for him he really personalized much of the anger.

Anger that’s being channeled by attorneys general around the country. New York’s A.G. says just because Lewis is stepping down, doesn’t mean he won’t be investigated. Lewis also faces scrutiny North Carolina and a class-action lawsuit in Ohio. Plus Lewis may find himself in federal court when B of A faces SEC charges in February.

In New York, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

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