BoA, Wells Fargo Wrap Up Takeovers

Tough road ahead for merged financial institutions

By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 1, 2009 3:27 PM CST

(Newser) – Bank of America and Wells Fargo completed their respective takeovers of Merrill Lynch and Wachovia this week, expected developments that close the books on a year of unprecedented change in the banking industry, Reuters reports. The acquisition of Merrill makes BoA the largest US bank by assets, with $2.7 trillion, while Wells Fargo is now fourth, with $1.4 trillion.

"We are now uniquely positioned to win market share and expand our leadership position in markets around the world," said BoA chief Kenneth Lewis. But he’ll have his hands full as the bank prepares for layoffs, defections, and more market volatility. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo must face hundreds of billions of dollars in Wachovia’s troubled mortgages. Wachovia and Merrill combined for $48 billion in losses the first three quarters of the year largely because of the meltdown in mortgages.

In this Sept. 15, 2008, file photo, Merrill Lynch Chairman and CEO John Thain, left, and Bank of America Chairman and CEO Ken Lewis shake hands following a news conference in New York.
In this Sept. 15, 2008, file photo, Merrill Lynch Chairman and CEO John Thain, left, and Bank of America Chairman and CEO Ken Lewis shake hands following a news conference in New York.   (AP Photos)
Wells Fargo completed its purchase of Wachovia yesterday.
Wells Fargo completed its purchase of Wachovia yesterday.   (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Bank of America Corp. expects to eliminate 30,000 to 35,000 jobs over the next three years following its acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co.
Bank of America Corp. expects to eliminate 30,000 to 35,000 jobs over the next three years following its acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co.   (AP Photo)
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