16 January 2009

Bank of America to Receive Additional $138 Billion in Government Assistance

The situation must have been rather dire indeed. They did not even wait for the weekend.

Its a nice amount of government aid for a single company. Too bad GM is not a bank.

Some animals are more equal than others.

U.S. Gives Bank of America $138 Billion Lifeline
By Scott Lanman and Craig Torres

Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. government agreed to invest $20 billion more in Bank of America Corp. and backstop $118 billion of its assets to help the lender absorb Merrill Lynch & Co. and prevent the financial crisis from deepening.

The government agreed to the rescue “as part of its commitment to support financial market stability,” the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said today in a e-mailed joint statement.

Hours earlier, the U.S. Senate voted to allow the release of $350 billion in financial rescue funds, the second half of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program enacted Oct. 3 by President George W. Bush.

The U.S. already had injected $15 billion into Bank of America, the country’s biggest lender, and another $10 billion to Merrill to bolster the combined company against the global credit crunch.

Bank of America will absorb the first $10 billion of losses in the pool, of which the “large majority” of assets were assumed by the company in the Merrill purchase, the government said. The Treasury and FDIC will share the next $10 billion of losses.

The Fed will backstop assets with a loan after the government’s first $10 billion in losses, the agencies said.

Future Losses

The asset pool includes cash assets with a current book value of as much as $37 billion and derivatives with maximum potential future losses of as much as $81 billion, according to the term sheet provided by the government.

Separately, the FDIC said it plans to propose changing its bond-guarantee program for banks to cover debt as long as 10 years, from the current three-year maturity. The FDIC will soon propose rule changes to the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program, today’s statement said.

“The U.S. government will continue to use all of our resources to preserve the strength of our banking institutions and promote the process of repair and recovery and to manage risks,” the joint statement said.

Shares of Bank of America plunged 18 percent yesterday, sliding to $1.88 to $8.32 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading after hitting $7.35, its lowest level since February 1991.

The bank moved up its fourth-quarter report to today at 7 a.m. New York time.