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Charlotte Area News

Former Merrill CEO quits

Since acquiring Merrill Lynch on January first Bank of America's stock value has diminished significantly. And it was forced seek an additional $20 billion in federal bailout money, after Merrill lost $15.3 billion in its last quarter as a standalone company. Bank of America says it only learned of the magnitude of Merrill's weak books in mid-December. BofA itself reported a nearly $2.4 billion loss. Banking analyst Gary Townsend of Hill Townsend says Bank of America will weather this storm. "And a great deal depends on the willingness of the federal government to continue to provide assistance in an appropriate way to Bank of America and its balance sheet," says Townsend. Still, Merrill has other baggage. The company gave year-end bonuses just before the BofA deal closed- something it usually does in mid-January. And news surfaced of former CEO John Thain's lavish one-point-two million dollar office renovation last year. Thain agreed to resign his recently appointed post as head of global wealth management.