BofA's New CEO: Growth to Remain Sluggish Next Year

Bank of America's newly appointed president and CEO, Brian Moynihan, told CNBC he doesn't expect the bank's balance sheet to grow much next year because of the weak economy.

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"I don't see dramatic growth in the balance sheet just because the demands aren't there to do it," Moynihan said in a live interview.

The company's balance sheet in 2010 will likely remain around $2 trillion, he said.

Middle-market companies are still drawing lines of credit at the lowest levels in history because there's no demand for their products, and consumers are still beaten down by the economic downturn, Moynihan said.

"They're feeling incrementally better, things are a little bit better, they're spending a little bit more but it's still not healed," he said. (See the full interview here)

Moynihan also said:

  • He sees the bank's biggest areas of growth coming from its wealth management and capital markets/investment banking departments. He doesn't, however, foresee the need to complete any more acquisitions.
  • He is in favor of regulatory reform and changing policies to be more fair to consumers. He specifically mentioned the need for fair pricing and clear regulations, so customers know what to expect in terms of fees.
  • Although cutting back on overdraft fees will cost BofA $200 million this quarter, in the longterm, he doesn't think it will affect the bank's profitability. "Our industry has to make money to support the economy, and our customers are willing to pay us fairly for that," he said.
  • He doesn't think that Bank of America is too big to manage, because the business is logically organized and each department is led by strong managers.
  • He wants all the company's senior managers to stay, and said the team's desire to win is what gives them a common culture, despite their different backgrounds.
  • He hasn't decided whether the bank will distribute shareholders a dividend in 2010 but said, "We've got to start earning money before we start paying dividends."
  • He said he learned a lot from the crisis, and he will never allow the company to be in a position where its capital and liquidity levels are in question.

Moynihan, who was appointed one week after the bank repaid the government the full $45 billion it received in TARP funds, will take over for retiring CEO Ken Lewis on Dec. 31. He currently serves as chief of the retail bank.

As the new CEO, he must finish the integration of mortgage lender Countrywide Financial and investment bank and wealth manager Merrill Lynch into the company.

He must also steer the bank — which has reported two quarterly losses within the last year, after posting nothing but profits for the last two decades — back to profitability.

Many of Wall Street's elite, including Bank of New York Mellon Chief Executive Robert Kelly, had been widely considered to be prospects for the post after Lewis announced plans in late September to retire.

Reuters contributed to this report