Bank of America Merrill Lynch

In June 2008, at the last Countrywide shareholder meeting after the company had been bought by Bank of America, founder Angelo Mozilo made a bold statement, telling those assembled, “[Bank of America] will reap the benefits of what we have sowed.” While one might quibble over the definition of the word “benefit,” the bank was unquestionably on the reaping end of what Mozilo and Co had sowed, namely a lot of predatory lending and mortgage messiness that ultimately grew and blossomed into approximately $71 billion worth of fines and BofA CEO Brian Moynihan’s near-nervous breakdown. Though mum when Bank of America was writing checks to resolve issues it inherited from CFC, Mozilo did deign to pick up the phone and chat with Bloomberg last week, following the news that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles intends to sue him over the not-so-great job he did. And thank god he did, because there is a lot we needed to be filled in on re: what Ang has been doing/thinking/feeling these last 6 years.

  • Like, his plans to build an old-timey Western town: “…a project in Templeton, a small Southern California town where he’s requested permits to build a two-story retail and office building on a vacant lot. Architectural sketches show a style suited for a quaint Western main street. ‘It’s a throwback to a century ago,’ Mozilo said. ‘I love America. I love everything about America.’”
  • His belief in, if not consumption of, Taco Bell: “One investment is a stake in a building that houses a Taco Bell outside Phoenix. Mozilo said he hasn’t eaten there because he stays away from chicken and beef.
  • His work giving the next generation a crash course in Finance 101: Mozilo Style: “Mozilo decided to teach undergraduates what he knows about finance last year. The former trustee of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, said he spent about two weeks in Italy at Gonzaga-in-Florence, housed in the Mozilo Center overlooking a 16th-century Medici garden. ‘I taught them the basics of finance based on my own experiences,’ he said. ‘I really enjoyed being among them. It was very refreshing for me.’”

The most interesting development, however, is probably his newfound penchant for speaking in the third person when denying any and all blame re: what went down at Countrywide. In short, Mozilo thinks those pointing fingers should go home and take a good look in the mirror. Read more »

Earlier this month, Bank of America and the U.S. announced a landmark settlement wherein the bank agreed to pay $16.65 billion to settle allegations re: some not great mortgage securities it sold back in the day. Many an article was written about how this was the last bit of legal messiness BofA had to get through before it could turn its attention back to whatever it is it does when it’s not negotiating multi-billion dollar fines, which it’s done a lot over the past several years. And sure, this was probably the last 10-figure check Brian Moynihan will have to write for a while, but surely there will be other, smaller, mere multi-million dollar lawsuits that pop up along the way, to say nothing of all the other banks’ outstanding suits and other stuff coming down the pipeline we don’t yet know about. Barclays, for example, is gonna want to put that dark pool stuff behind it, as will Credit Suisse, UBS, and Deutsche Bank, should anything come of their investigations. Point is, the era of banks coughing up money to settle wrondoing on the regular is far from over, and inspired by what appears to be a new column at the Journal called “Crystal Ball,” today we’d like to introduce, “You Write The Story,” which, when the appropriate time comes, will go something like this: Read more »

Banks are said to have made their best offers this week. Read more »

Was this an act of a judge taking pity on BofA in light of the fact that it basically writes the government 9 figure checks on a weekly basis, and is probably going to write a ten figure one early next month? Unclear, but it calls for a round of celebratory drinks in Charlotte tonight. Read more »

To be fair, the Justice Department hasn’t actually thrown out that figure, but it did scoff at Brian Moynhian’s offer of $13 billion, so. Read more »

Gone are the days of working until 2AM on an assignment. Staying only until midnight will be the new and exciting way of doing things. Read more »

So, that’s something. Read more »