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Bank of America considers further consolidation

Bank of America, which operates a number of branches in Massachusetts and other states, is reportedly considering merging some of its subsidiary divisions into one unit under the parent company's name. A spokesperson for the bank said that the merger would reduce the number of distinctly named legal entities that the major bank operates and "streamline" the firm. The merger's main focus is the Merrill Lynch subdivision of the bank. Officials claim that the services and products that the brokerage offers would remain unchanged following the reorganization.

If Bank of America does decide to pursue this business reorganization, it must seek regulatory approval. The firm already initiated this process by filing with the Securities and Exchanges Commission in early August. By merging, the company will assume all of the multinational debt securities currently under the auspices of the brokerage and also escape the legal necessity of filing separate regulatory disclosures. Experts attribute the drive to merge to the CEO's recent pushes for increased efficiency.

A CreditSights report revealed that Merrill's second-quarter long-term debt surpassed $60 billion. The brokerage is the most lucrative business section currently operated by BofA, which is the second-biggest lender in the nation. Any deal that goes through could occur in the fourth quarter, around five years after the bank originally purchased the brokerage.

Mergers and other corporate-restructuring deals often unfold over time. The need to appease shareholders and maintain profitability drives many firms to plan acquisitions and deals that allow them to plan for future viability and respond to market changes. Business attorneys often help firms navigate the legal complexities of such deals and maintain regulatory compliance.

Source: USA TODAY, "Merrill may merge fully into Bank of America", Kevin McCoy, August 16, 2013

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