Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The final days of Ken Lewis

Today's NYT has a story in the business section that details the firing of BofA's general counsel on the day the Board was informed of losses hemorrhaging at Merrill Lynch prior to conclusion of the acquisition. The details of the reporter's story are worse than that, and if it is even close to accurate Lewis is now in even more trouble. BofA's days of thinking they can get away with distorting the truth and villifying others in their public comments, a tradition that began at NCNB with former CEO Hugh McColl, may finally be over.

Worse yet, a front page article on the abusive fees on debit cards throughout much of the banking industry highlights BofA as among the worst, detailing their practice of reordering clients overdrafts from high amount to low, rather than chronological order, such that the bank receives the highest amount of overdraft fees.

Lewis will certainly be out by the end of the year, if not the end of the week.

Postscript: Notwithstanding some executive management practices, BofA has many fine businesses and the branch banking business that earlier in his career Ken Lewis helped knit together has top of the line integrated technology as well as, in my family's experience in New York, Missouri, and Virginia, skilled face to face customer contact practices.

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