Bank of America Background Information
Bank of America (BAC), is the largest commercial bank in the United States and the largest of its kind in the world. The company earned over $21 billion in 2006 and has a market capitalization over $200 Billion. Its namesake can trace its history to American Bank of Italy in San Francisco, circa 1900, but the company is actually the former NationsBank, headquartered in Durham NC, which acquired Bank of America in 1998 and assumed its name. BAC is currently constructing a massive 1.2 million sq. ft. headquarters in New York City.
Through mergers and acquisitions, BAC’s commercial banking unit has become the largest issuer of credit, debit and prepaid cards in the world. BAC is also the largest commercial bank in the US, with 5,700+ retail branches and over 17,000 ATM’s across the United States. The U.S. banking operations contribute more than half of BAC’s total revenues.
Banc of America Securities LLC (BAS) is the investment banking subsidiary of Bank of America. It is registered as a broker-dealer through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and by all 50 U.S. states, and is a member of various securities exchanges including the New York Stock Exchange. The use of “Banc” in the BAS name is to indicate that it is not a bank and its accounts are not insured by the FDIC.
BAS is a full-service securities firm, which offers securities brokerage, research, trading, underwriting, financial advisory and other investment services. It claims to be the fastest growing investment bank on Wall Street, taking on such powerhouses as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Lehman Brothers.
BAS’s sister company, Global Wealth and Investment Management (GWIM), is actually a combination of several firm which manages the assets of institutions and individuals. GWIM claims to be among the 10 largest U.S. wealth managers and, in July 2006, stated that its total assets under management exceeded $500 billion.