BofA Needs $80 Billion in Fresh Capital: Analyst

Friedman, Billings, Ramsey analyst Paul Miller made waves Tuesday by suggesting that Bank of America Corp. (BAC) needs more than $80 billion in new common equity capital, thanks to a ballooning balance sheet of assets tied to its acquisitions of Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch. Miller suggested that BofA would also need to cut its dividend to preserve capital, and moved his target price to $5/share. Shares of Bank of America slumped 29 percent, closing at $5.10 on Tuesday; shares were at $5.82, up more than 14 percent, when this story was published. Nonetheless, Tuesday’s close was the lowest share price for the North Carolina-based bank since 1990. Other major commercial banks swooned, as well, including Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC). BofA reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $1.79 billion, or 48 cents a share, on Friday morning last week; the bank begins the year with $61.7 billion of tangible common equity, supporting $2.4 trillion of tangible assets, Miller’s note said according to a MarketWatch report. That’s well below the 6 to 9 percent ratio that Miller believes is needed. “It would take over $80 billion of new common equity to reach even the low end of the range, and we believe Bank of America simply is not generating sufficient capital internally in this environment to put a dent in this size capital hole,” his note read in part. BofA’s mortgage, home equity and insurance services segment itself reported a net loss of $2.5 billion during Q4, as home equity credit costs continued to soar. Write to Paul Jackson at Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade.

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