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, a U.S. multinational bank. Its services include advisory, capital raising, banking, and treasury, as well as liquidity, sales and trading, and research. Its divisions include: Global Banking & Markets, which comprises Business Banking, Global Commercial Banking, Global Corporate & Investment Banking and Global Markets. Other divisions include: Global Capital Markets, Global Research, Global Transaction Services and Wholesale Credit.[1]

The U.S. 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.[2]

At one point Bank of America's then-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. [3]

In September of 2019, ten years after the financial crisis, Bank of America said it would phase out the Merrill Lynch brand for some of its businesses, including its investment banking and trading divisions, which would form a unit called BofA Securities. The main financial advisory unit will still operate as "Merrill Lynch Wealth Management." [4]


The oldest parts of Bank of America extend back 240 years.

Merrill Lynch was founded in 1914 by Charles Merrill and Edmund Lynch. The company grew into a massive retail brokerage that aimed to introduce everyday investors to the stock market.

Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch for $50 billion in September 2008.

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