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Bank of America agrees to pay $2.43 billion in Merrill Lynch suit

September 28, 2012|By Andrew Tangel
  • Bank of America customers use ATM machines in New York.
Bank of America customers use ATM machines in New York. (Mark Lennihan / Associated…)

Bank of America has agreed to pay $2.43 billion to settle a class-action lawsuit filed in 2009 by investors following its acquisition of Merrill Lynch.

The settlement, announced Friday, still requires court approval. In addition to the payout, Bank of America agreed to institute new corporate governance policies, the bank said in a statement.

The bank said it denied the suit's allegations, which included that executives made misleading statements about both firms' financial health.

“Resolving this litigation removes uncertainty and risk and is in the best interests of our shareholders,” the bank's chief executive, Brian Moynihan, said in the statement. "As we work to put these long-standing issues behind us, our primary focus is on the future and serving our customers and clients."

Bank of America acquired Merrill Lynch at the height of the financial crisis in the fall of 2008. The investment bank Lehman Brothers had collapsed, and other major investment banks were in trouble as the crisis worsened.

The settlement will deal a $1.6-billion blow to Bank of America's third-quarter earnings, which are due for release Oct. 17, the bank said.

Bank of America shares fell 10 cents, or 1.1%, to $8.87 at the opening bell on Wall Street.

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