Bank of America Corporation

▪ American corporation
      banking and financial services corporation formed through the merger of NationsBank and BankAmerica in 1998. One of the largest banking organizations in the United States, Bank of America is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.

      The bank's history dates to 1904 when Amadeo Peter Giannini (Giannini, A P) opened the Bank of Italy in San Francisco. It eventually developed into the Bank of America and was for a time owned by Giannini's holding company, Transamerica Corporation. It issued the first bank credit card, BankAmeriCard, in 1958. (The first universal credit card, which could be used at a variety of establishments, had been introduced by the Diners' Club, Inc., in 1950.)

      In 1968 the newly named BankAmerica Corporation was organized in Delaware as a holding company for Bank of America NT & SA and other financial subsidiaries. One of BankAmerica's most significant acquisitions was the 1983 purchase of Washington state bank Seafirst Corporation, which was the biggest U.S. interstate bank merger to date. After purchasing its major competitor in California, Security Pacific Corporation, in 1991, Bank of America became the first bank to offer coast-to-coast operations in the United States. It expanded into New England with the acquisition of FleetBoston Financial Corporation in 2004, and by the early 21st century it was operating more than 5,500 bank branches in more than 20 U.S. states and conducting corporate and investment banking in numerous countries worldwide. The firm enlarged its credit-card business by acquiring National Processing, a transaction-processing firm, in 2004, while its merger with MBNA Corporation in 2006 made Bank of America a leading issuer of credit cards.

      To gain a strong position in the wealth-management business, Bank of America planned in 2007 to acquire U.S. Trust Corporation, an investment firm that manages investments for high-net-worth individuals. In September 2008 Bank of America Corporation announced its plans to acquire Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. (Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.), pending the approval of both companies' regulators and shareholders. In January 2009 Bank of America announced that it would receive $20 billion in U.S. government aid and an additional $118 billion in guarantees against bad assets incurred as a result of the acquisition of Merrill Lynch. In exchange for the emergency funding, the U.S. Department of the Treasury would acquire shares in the bank.

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Universalium. 2010.

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