1 drink short of Bank of Amerillwide necessitating a stomach pump, but no matter. Better late than never, right-o, BAC shareholders? (And for all you naysayers out there-- this has nothing to do with him getting flack over Countrywide and Merrill which, we'll say it again, were brilliant acquisitions whose genius is yet to be revealed but will one day be understood, the same day you'll eat your words!)
Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Lewis expects more mergers among U.S. banks as the economy stabilizes, and said his bank won't be among the participants.
"Merger activity will pick up for others," Lewis said in a speech in London today. "At Bank of America, we've got enough on our hands right now."
Lewis, who spent more than $120 billion on acquisitions since becoming CEO in 2001, is still trying to quell investor doubts about his most recent purchases, which led to his ouster as chairman last month. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank bought home lender Countrywide Financial Corp. last July and brokerage Merrill Lynch & Co. in January as the financial industry was teetering near collapse.
The recession and credit crunch left the U.S. banking system with too much capacity, making absorption of weaker banks by stronger ones inevitable, Lewis said. Consolidation stalled over the past year as "severe market stress and disruptions made pricing difficult," he said.