Flowers also played a key role in advising Bank of America in the fall of 2008, when it agreed to buy troubled Merrill Lynch for $50 billion.
But by the time the deal closed in January 2009, Merrill had taken a turn for the worse, racking up $15 billion in losses.
Flowers said the Merrill losses were not apparent when the deal was struck. "I think they developed later." Despite that, he said it's been a "terrific deal" for BofA. "I think now what I thought then—that it made a lot of strategic sense. And it's proved that way."
Flowers said he doesn't know whether BofA could have gotten a better deal if it waited for Merrill to go into bankruptcy.
"It's a different deal and maybe not a better deal," he said. "You get a whole functioning Merrill Lynch that really snapped back fast and has added a lot to BofA."