Bank of America Merrill Lynch

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Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Founded 2009

Bank of America completed its purchase of New York-based Merrill Lynch on Jan. 1, 2009, forming Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The government helped orchestrate the acquisition over the same weekend in September 2008 that Lehman Brothers went under, setting off one of the most intense periods of the 2008 financial crisis.[1]

At one point Bank of America's chief executive, Kenneth Lewis, was contemplating calling off the acquisition because Merrill was seen as potentially damaging to BofA. Merrill had taken huge write-downs from mortgage-backed securities and other risky investments in the year before it was acquired.

After the deal closed, it was revealed that Merrill had losses of more than $15 billion in the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, the brokerage unit helped drive Bank of America Merrill Lynch to a first-quarter profit of $4.2 billion. $3.7 billion of that was linked to the Merrill unit brokerage unit. [2]


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  1. BofA CEO Lewis testifies to NY AG that Bernanke, Paulson pushed Merrill Lynch purchase. Chicago Tribune.
  2. Merrill Lynch, once seen as mistake, aids Bank of America results. MarketWatch.