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Steve Chiotakis: The Securities and Exchange Commission today said it reached an agreement with Bank of America that would give regulators a much better picture of what was happening over at B of A as the merger was being put together with Merrill Lynch last year. Marketplace’s Steve Henn has more.
Steve Henn: A few months ago the SEC and Bank of America tried to settle this case — but a federal judge blocked that deal because it didn’t name who was responsible for pushing this merger forward without disclosing huge bonuses for Merrill Lynch’s executives.
Today’s agreement doesn’t end the case, but Bank of America is waiving attorney-client privileges that allowed it to conceal some of its internal discussions about the merger from investigators. Former SEC officials say those conversations could be politically explosive. Bank of America executives were pushed hard by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to close the Merrill merger.
Conversations between Bank of America’s attorneys and executives could reveal if any federal officials were involved the bank’s decision not to disclose the depth of Merrill Lynch’s problems to shareholders before the merger was approved.
In Washington, I’m Steve Henn for Marketplace.