Bank of America Corporation
is an American multinational banking and financial services corporation. The bank is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, but has significant offices in most major American cities.
Bank of America claims a relationship with 99% of the U.S. Fortune 500 companies and 83% of the Fortune Global 500. It serves clients in more than 150 countries. The bank is part of the the S&P 500 Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
As of 2010, Bank of America Corporation is the 5th largest company in the United States by total revenue, and the second largest non-oil company in the U.S. (after Walmart). Forbes listed Bank of America Corporation as the 3rd biggest company in the world in 2010.
With the Bank's 2008 acquisition of Merrill Lynch, the bank became the world's largest wealth management corporation and a major player in the investment banking market.
Bank of America Corporation is one of the Big Four banks in the United States, along with Wells Fargo, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase. With very broad coverage, the Bank reports that it operates "in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and more than 40 non-U.S. countries". It has a "retail banking footprint" that "covers approximately 80 percent of the U.S. population" "and it serves approximately 57 million consumer and small business relationships" at "5,900 banking centers" and "18,000 ATMs".
Brief History of Bank of America
In 1904, Italian Amadeo Giannini founded the Bank of Italy in San Francisco thinking he could serve immigrants denied service by other banks. During the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Giannini was able to save all deposits from the fires ravaging the city. Giannini used these funds and a makeshift desk consisting of a few planks over two barrels to start lending money to anyone who was willing to rebuild. Later in life, he took great pride in the fact that all of these emergency construction loans were repaid.
Bank of America, like all the big banks, is a product of many mergers, acquisitions and divestitures throughout its history.
In 1922, Giannini moved into the Italian market as Bank of America and Italy by buying Banca dell'Italia Meridionale. This was the first move into international banking by the company.
On March 7, 1927, Giannini consolidated the Bank of Italy's 101 branches with the Liberty Bank of America's 175 branches to form the Bank of Italy National Trust & Savings Association. Combined it had capital of $30 Billion, and resources of $115 Billion, a very large sum even today.
In 1928, that bank merged with Bank of America, Los Angeles to create what would become the largest banking institution in the country. On November 3, 1930 the Bank of Italy was renamed Bank of America
, creating the brand in use today.
Transamerica Corporation was forcibly separated from Bank of America by federal anti-trust regulators. It was not until the 1980's that new banking regulation allowed for bank holding companies to establish nationwide networks.
BankAmerica was acquired by NationsBank of Charlotte, North Carolina in October 1998 in what was the largest bank acquisition in history at that time. This shifted the Bank's headquarters to North Carolina from California, but although NationsBank was the nominal survivor, the merged bank carried the stronger brand name Bank of America Corporation. The combined bank still operates under Federal Charter 13044, which was granted to Giannini's Bank of Italy on March 1, 1927.
As part of the financial meltdown fallout, BOA acquired Country Wide Financial in 2008 for $4.1 billion and then saved Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. from bankruptcy at the end of 2008 in an all-stock deal worth approximately $50 billion. Both operations continue, although Countrywide has been rebranded as BOA Home Loans.
Another claim to fame was the invention of the what is now known as the Visa Card in 1958 (introduced as the BankAmericard
). A consortium of other California banks introduced Master Charge (now MasterCard) to compete with BankAmericard, creating the now worldwide rivalry between the two top credit card brands
The Bank of America uses the distinctive "flagscape" logo
to brand the main retail bank and a number of subsidiaries. The flagscape comes in red and blue suggesting the American flag and the country knit together. Mono-chrome versions are used for other applications like branding on single color items.
If you find yourself in Charlotte, North Carolina, headquarters of the Bank of America you can visit the Bank of America Store and Heritage Center at 100 N Tryon St. Charlotte, NC 28202 There number is (704) 387-6075 or you can shop online at bankofamericastore.com
eBay and other online auction houses become a big market for bank memorabilia
whenever a big financial institution fails or falls into a scandal. Everything from imprinted pens to stock certificates go into high demand when the bank is in the news. Not suggesting Bank of America is going to fail, but it is the recipient of the assets of many banks that have folded. The collectibles of many banks
that are now part of Bank of America are out there in the secondary market to collect.
Equity in Bank of America
A single share of Bank of America
Corporation, framed with a plaque, makes a truly unique gift. If the recipient worked for the Bank of America, or perhaps benefited greatly from a loan issued to them by the bank, the gift of stock can be very meaningful. The share make a nice piece of art and bears the name of the shareholder and a unique certificate number, making it a one of a kind collectible.
Shareholders get the right to vote on corporate matters and attend the Annual General Meetings each year. They also receive annual reports in the mail every year and can get quarterly reports and newsletters if they like.
While one single share of Bank of America
is not much (the shares trade under $10 each as this article was written), that one share of stock allows the holder to join the stock holders DRIP plan and invest additional money and reinvest dividends into additional shares.
Collectibles From Other Financial Companies