|Ken Lewis says there is no plan to nationalize his bank. (Bebeto Matthews/AP/File 2008)|
Takeover by US 'absurd,' says Bank of America
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Bank of America Corp. chief executive Ken Lewis yesterday capped a week of defending his bank and his role in it by firing back against rumors that his company might be nationalized.
"It's absurd," Lewis said in an interview on CNBC, adding that he knows of no government official who has talked about that.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and other top officials are close to finishing a plan to overhaul the government's $700 billion financial rescue fund. Some investors in recent days have worried that the government's latest revisions to its lifeline for banks would involve nationalizing many banks.
Speaking generally about the banking industry, Lewis reiterated the strength of his Charlotte, N.C.-based company, saying it would not need additional federal funding and still believes its acquisition of brokerage Merrill Lynch & Co. was the right move.
This week Lewis spent almost $1 million buying shares of his struggling bank and posted a memo to employees that said the bank's board "unanimously endorsed our business model, strategic direction, and the team," at its regular meeting on Jan. 28.
Bank of America shares rose $1.29, or 26.7 percent, to close at $6.13.