Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Bank of America is one of the
world's largest financial institutions, with customers in more than
150 countries and business relationships with 99 percent of
the U.S. Fortune 500 and 95 percent of
the Global Fortune 500. The bank's roots go
back to the late 18th century when Massachusetts Bank was chartered
in 1784 and the Providence Bank was created in Rhode Island in
1791. Two centuries later, in the 1960s, a southern bank known as
North Carolina National Bank had began an aggressive plan of
expansion based on the model of a "hometown bank" where a branch
would individually cater to the needs of the community it served.
NCNB's model proved popular, and it expanded through the 1970s and
1980s. In 1991, NCNB merged with Citizens & Southern National
Bank to form NationsBank, which acquired BankAmerica in 1998 to
become Bank of America.
In 2004, BofA acquired FleetBoston Financial for $47 billion,
and in 2006, it paid $35 billion for MBNA's credit card business.
In 2007, the bank acquired U.S. Trust as well as the ABN Amro North
American Holding Company, the parent of U.S.-based LaSalle Bank
Corporation. In 2008, BofA America purchased the U.S. diversified
financial services holding group Countrywide Financial Corporation
and, at the end of the year, made just about every headline in the
world, announcing that it would buy New York-based investment bank
Merrill Lynch, calling the purchase "a great opportunity for our
shareholders," as the deal expected to achieve $7 billion in pretax
expense savings by 2012. When the deal closed, it made BofA the
biggest U.S. bank in terms of assets, with more than $2 trillion;
the largest brokerage firm in the world; one of the leading
investment banking advisory firms; and one of the world's top
wealth management firms.
Worldwide, BofA employs approximately 233,000 people. The bank
is led by BofA Chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan, who took the
company reins from former CEO Kenneth Lewis in late 2009.