TLP: Bank of America, Now With Less "Scary and Ugly"
First, Bank of America decides to scrap overdraft fees on debit card purchases. Then the bank says it has bumped up loan modifications by 60 percent.
And now, BofA agrees to publish online an annual summary of it corporate political donations. Pound of flesh, anyone? John Liu got himself a fresh bite, without that stale Ken Lewis aftertaste.
From the WSJ:
New York City Comptroller John C. Liu has scored a coup in an ongoing national effort to increase corporate transparency after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a century-old ban on corporate political spending.
Fearing the ramifications of the January court ruling, which opens the way for millions of corporate dollars to be poured into this year's elections, the trustees of the city's pension funds and other major institutional investors have begun to demand more transparency and accountability from the companies in which they invest.
The deal calls for Bank of America to list donations made with corporate funds to political parties and committees, plus gifts from the bank's PACs. Contributions from specific BofA employees won't show up.
"This kind of agreement with Bank of America is critically important in the wake of that court decision that essentially allows unlimited amounts of money to be contributed for political causes at essentially the whim of the top management," said Mr. Liu, the city's chief financial officer. "Full disclosure can and will be a disinfectant." ...
All of the information the bank agreed to publish online is already publicly disclosed elsewhere, the bank said, but Mr. Liu said a full accounting of the bank's political activities is very difficult for the general public or the company's shareholders to find.
So, NYC's comptroller is happy and has his sights set on some other companies where the city invests. The WSJ cites Charles Schwab, Sprint Nextel and Union Pacific.
But what's behind all of this? What could be in it for BofA? Fox Business News has an idea that could be too big to fail.