Where’s Ken Lewis?

Sep 5, 2011
J. Webster
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Back in 2008, Bank of America’s CEO Ken Lewis made the fateful decision to buy Countrywide for $2.5 billion. And he thought he was making a savvy buy that would make Bank of America the nation’s premier lender. Oh how that turned out. Could this be the worst purchase in all of financial history? Perhaps so. The purchase hasn’t turned out so good for Bank of America, despite what Ken Lewis said about Countrywide in 2008:

“Countrywide presents a rare opportunity for Bank of America to add what we believe is the best domestic mortgage platform at an attractive price and to affirm our position as the nation’s premier lender to consumers,” Lewis said in a statement.

Yet, as the Business Insider recently wrote, the Countrywide purchase is actually turning out to cost Bank of America close to $30 billion. What’s more, since Frannie and Freddie are now suing the proud, new owners of Countrywide, Bank of America, over their part in the mortgage-backed securities fiasco, for $26.6 billion, you could put the cost of the purchase at closer to $60 billion. Yeah, Ken Lewis made a hell of a buy. A rare opportunity indeed, Mr. Lewis.

The question is though, where is Ken Lewis? Is he sitting on a beach somewhere sipping a cool drink as the bank he once led is failing apart do in large part to this deal? I guess he made the wise choice of leaving Bank of America. However, when Bank of America was failing apart back in 2008, he purchased a large chunk of BAC shares, 513,000 in fact. I wonder if he’s still holding on to the stock of his former bank?

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