WSJ: BofA Mulling Retreat if Financial Problems Worsen

Friday, 13 Jan 2012 08:46 AM

 

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Bank of America, the second-largest U.S. bank by assets, has informed U.S. regulators that it is willing to draw back from some parts of the country if its financial problems worsen, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the situation.

Last year, BofA executives had put potential retreat on a list of emergency scenarios submitted to the Federal Reserve, the Journal said, citing sources.

BofA Chief Executive Brian Moynihan submitted a list to Fed officials in the middle of last year which listed the possible geographic cutback, the paper reported.

The list also included a potential sale of a separate class of shares based on performance of Merrill Lynch, the securities firm owned by Bank of America, WSJ said, citing the sources.

Bank of America, which had to be bailed out by the U.S. government during the financial crisis of 2008, has remained one of the weakest in the industry.

For the last two years, Moynihan has worked to gradually streamline the company and build capital, but investors have been disappointed with the speed of the turnaround.

In December, Reuters reported that the bank may be considering the sale of assets in a bid to shore up its position as it tries catch up with major U.S. competitors in complying with new capital rules.

While the bank, like other financial firms, has suffered from a sluggish economy and concerns about the European debt crisis, it has also incurred self-inflicted wounds, including a now-canceled plan to charge customers a $5-per-month debit card fee.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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