Here’s an FT exclusive, and note just how badly BofA’s Ken Lewis does NOT want to be put into the Pandit bucket:
Bank of America’s request for $20bn of government money to prop up its acquisition of Merrill Lynch was a “tactical mistake” that made the bank appear as weak as Citigroup, Ken Lewis, BofA’s chief executive told the Financial Times on Monday… “In hindsight, it was a tactical mistake because it put us in the same category as Citigroup,” said Mr Lewis. “We could still have had 8 per cent tier 1 capital after a $15bn loss but we wanted a cushion.” … The deal’s troubles, together with controversy over Merrill Lynch’s payment of bonuses in December, have prompted calls for Mr Lewis’ resignation but he said this was an option he had not considered “for one second”. “I want to repay the Tarp money before I go anywhere, and by then I think we will be seeing the success of the Merrill Lynch acquisition,” he said. “It would be very easy to disappear into the sunset but we have to slug through this.”
Notice how subtle Lewis is in slamming Citi? OK, maybe not so subtle. But a man’s got to do *something* for his board when the stock price on your bank is below FOUR DOLLARS PER SHARE. Even if that strategy is: hey, at least we’re not as bad as those guys!