Countless times over the past two decades, someone would walk into my office, usually holding a news clip, and announce, "We've got a communications problem."
What they usually had was a "facts" problem that was becoming a communications problem.
Bank of America has invented a new twist: a communications problem that became a facts problem, and is now a growing legal problem.
In a wave of litigation and official probes, investigators reviewing BofA's acquisition of Merrill Lynch last fall, during the height of the financial crisis, are trying to determine whether bank officials misled regulators and shareholders on the nature of the transaction and made adequate disclosures of Merrill Lynch bonuses and expected losses.
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The apparently too-tricky-by-half public and investor communications strategy by BofA (and Merrill) now has senior officers of the bank facing potential legal jeopardy.