Bank of America remains the largest lender in the U.S. by assets but probably won't be for long as CEO Brian Moynihan tries to make it more agile and easier to manage. The bank previously led in credit cards, mortgages and deposits, but Mr. Moynihan has said that being the biggest isn't a priority.
The Federal Reserve appears to be trying to determine whether Capital One Financial's proposed acquisition of ING Direct USA will result in a bank that is seen as to be "too big to fail." The central bank has asked Capital One to explain "the nature and dollar volume" of financial activities in which the two firms are involved.
Bank of America's ousting of Sallie Krawcheck, head of the wealth-management division, signals to some observers a renewed effort by the bank to integrate Merrill Lynch. Bank of America has been encouraging its Merrill Lynch brokers to do more cross-selling of bank products. "Cross-selling has to be a focus at Bank of America," said Alois Pirker, a senior analyst at Aite Group. "If it isn't, why would they combine the two firms to begin with?"
Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, said authorities who met for the inaugural meeting of the European Systemic Risk Board are aware that the region's financial system remains fragile. "Everyone's conscious of the fragility of the situation in Europe, but today was an opportunity to focus on the bricks of the framework on which our future work can rest," King said.
Banks and investment banks should operate under a unified regulatory framework with "appropriate requirements for capital and liquidity," Timothy Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, wrote in a Financial Times commentary. The Fed, Geithner added, should take a central role in establishing the regulatory framework. "At present the Fed has broad responsibility for financial stability not matched by direct authority and the consequences of the actions we have taken in this crisis make it more important that we close that gap," he said.