As many of you will recall, back in 2008, then Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis agreed to buy Merrill Lynch. While it wasn’t a Countrywide-level disaster of an acquisition (i.e. a bomb that’s never stopped going off), it wasn’t Lewis’s best laid plan, which is why he actually tried to get out of the deal at the 11th hour, only to be told by former Fed Chair Hank Paulson that if he wanted to keep his legs, he’d go through with it. The merger didn’t sit right with a large contingent of Merrill brokers, but they chose to go along with it for the greater good. Still, they made a solemn swear to each other that they’d fight even the smallest perceived slight to their brand and five plus years after the deal went through, they’ve kept their word.

A new tweak to Merrill Lynch advisers’ business cards earlier this year was all it took to cause a stir among some brand loyalists among the firm’s approximately 13,700 advisers. Several current and former Merrill Lynch brokers and industry recruiters pointed to two key changes: the shrinking of the iconic Merrill Lynch bull on the front of the cards and the addition of a red and blue strip at the bottom symbolizing Bank of America’s two-tone flag.

“Not only are the colors of the bank’s flag at the bottom (front) of the card, but the Merrill Lynch bull is getting smaller,” said one veteran Merrill Lynch adviser, who is based in New England and had been with the firm since before the Bank of America merger. “It’s very uncomfortable.”

So here’s what. Unless BofA wants a load of unhappy Merrill brokers on its hands, someone will get on the horn with the printers and put in a rush job for new cards that includes a bull that:

1. Spans the height and width of the card

2. Is drawn with painstaking detail and is anatomically correct

3. Is triumphantly riding whatever the Bank of America mascot is (a flag?), across the card

If you need a sketch, someone can provide a mockup that was done on a cocktail napkin last night at the Blarney Stone while bitching about BofA brass.

Do Merrill Lynch’s new business cards diss the brand? [Investment News via Matt]

29 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (29)

  1. Posted by Jack Torce | June 18, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    These Merrill guys have a lot of balls. Anyone who knows anything about the last 7-8 years knows that Merrill was dead to rights. They were next in line to fall right after Lehman. They should just shut the fuck up about it and move on with their lives. Other than that I have zero concerns

  2. Posted by guest | June 18, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    a bull triumphantly riding Ken Lewis across the card would also work.

  3. Posted by guest | June 18, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    hell yes!

    -drunk on boone's farm

  4. Posted by Captain Oblivious | June 18, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    Thats why the Merrill guys are mad, cause they were saved by a guy that may or may not have a touch of the downs or bells palsy. When Ken Lewis is your white knight that means you really shit your drawers. Unless you are Big Ang Mozilo, then he's the man

  5. Posted by guest | June 18, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    Get. A. Hobby.

  6. Posted by guest | June 18, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say these guys have a lot of time on their hands.

  7. Posted by charlie | June 18, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    The brokers should just go work for HFT's! There is more money in front running trade flow than commissions.

  8. Posted by Guest | June 18, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    Ken Lewis is being groomed as Shaz successor in case he leaves Dealbreaker.

  9. Posted by guest | June 18, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    +1, great contribution.

  10. Posted by Im_a_Dude | June 18, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    Thanks Matt.

  11. Posted by Paddy | June 18, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    When the last Blarney Stone closes, it is time to leave NY

  12. Posted by MC Charlotte | June 18, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    My balls are like raisins….mom's spaghetti…..merrill lynch bombs are ready…..

  13. Posted by guest | June 18, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    Truer words have never been spoken

  14. Posted by WWI Afficionado | June 18, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    …Blarney Stone has cocktail napkins

  15. Posted by HighFrequencyHater | June 18, 2014 at 3:10 PM


    ~ yahoo finance message boards contributor

  16. Posted by Guest | June 18, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    Don't quit your day job

  17. Posted by Guest | June 18, 2014 at 3:29 PM

    Get the fu*k over it, you work for BofA.
    Take your lapel pin, your spirit points and go back to your office and sell your clients some annuities, structured notes and checking accounts.

  18. Posted by guest | June 18, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    + 1 for spirit points

  19. Posted by Office Space | June 18, 2014 at 4:53 PM

    Where's you flair?

  20. Posted by Guest | June 18, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    Your a grand old flag. Your a high flying flag. And forever in peace may you wave. Your the emblem of, the company I love, home of the free and the brave.

    -Carl, BofA lifer in retail bank operations.
    Charlotte, NC

  21. Posted by Guest | June 18, 2014 at 5:22 PM

    How about the bull getting fucked in the ass by Ken Lewis and Angelo Mozilo fucking him in the ass at the same time?

  22. Posted by Outer Space | June 18, 2014 at 5:59 PM

    It's up you ass

  23. Posted by Echo | June 18, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    Can't add Mozilo. Orange ink incurs extra printing charges.

  24. Posted by ML Broker | June 18, 2014 at 7:14 PM

    (jersey voice)
    I'm not trying to oversell you bro, but you gotta get in this new investment opportunity. It's Merrill lynch exclusive- this new app called Yo- its going to blow up bro, get in on the ground now

  25. Posted by pokey gasbagarino | June 18, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    Do you have the Merrill Mafia clogging up the pipes at your firm? I suggest a gigantic dose of ex-lax to do the trick.

  26. Posted by TheodoreBallgamePhD | June 19, 2014 at 8:12 AM

    Is that you, Mr Pink?

  27. Posted by TheodoreBallgamePhD | June 19, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    Merrill Lynch. One of the last great financial brands, right after UBS and Edward Jones.

  28. Posted by Meagain | June 19, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    that is Bullshit!

  29. Posted by Rebecca M. | June 19, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    "former Fed Chair Hank Paulson that if he wanted to keep his legs, he’d go through with it"

    Funk you Bess

    -B Bernanke