The shake-up in Bank of America Corp.'s boardroom, apparently orchestrated by the hand of government regulators, continued Friday evening, when the bank announced that three more of its directors have resigned.
Friday's departures mean that half of the 18 directors elected for 2009-10 have left without explanation. The government's role in orchestrating the leadership changes at the Charlotte, N.C., company, has become evident, however.
Though the government has been expanding its authority over most of the banking industry, its grip has been especially tight on Bank of America. The holds $45 billion in government loans — more than any bank but Citigroup Inc. The directors have been under fire for allegedly rubber-stamping the wishes of Bank of America's executives, a laxity that helped lead to the current financial crisis.
In June, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke told a congressional panel that the Fed asked the bank to "look at top management and make changes to its board" after negotiations over the $50 billion purchase of Merrill Lynch late last year.
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In May, regulators instructed Bank of America and other banks that "failed" the stress tests to "review their existing management and Board in order to assure that the leadership of the firm has sufficient expertise and ability to manage the risks presented by the current economic environment."
The bank said in a regulatory filing, made after 5 p.m. on Friday, that each director's decision to resign "was not a result of any disagreement with the Corporation or its management." Bank spokesman Scott Silvestri declined to comment beyond the three-sentence filing, except to say that the bank expects to add more directors before the end of the year.
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