It’s time for Brian T. Moynihan’s close-up.MUCH MORE
Mr. Moynihan, the chief executive of Bank of America, has been criticized on many fronts in recent weeks. His bank has faced questions about its capital needs and mortgage-related legal woes, as well as a management shake-up last week that saw the departure of two senior executives, Sallie L. Krawcheck and Joe Price. Even a $5 billion cash infusion from Warren E. Buffett, meant to buoy confidence in Mr. Moynihan’s leadership, did little to boost the bank’s stock price.
In a hotly anticipated appearance at the Barclays 2011 Global Financial Services Conference this morning, Mr. Moynihan is expected to address those problems and unveil elements of “Project New BAC,” the bank’s year-long mission, named after its stock ticker, to increase revenues and restore itself to full health.
We’ll be live-blogging his speech, which is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.
Mr. Moynihan defended Bank of America's capital position, saying that adjusted for certain one-time transactions, the bank's tier 1 common ratio is back to where it was in the first quarter of this year.
9:27 A.M. Updated: Bigger Isn't Necessarily Better
"We don't have to be the biggest company out there, we have to be the best," Mr. Moynihan said, defending the bank's streamlining process.
He is now taking questions from the audience.
In the first audience question, an activist from the Rainforest Action Network harangued Mr. Moynihan for contributing to global warming by underwriting coal-fired power plants.
9:45 A.M. Updated: Grilling Mr. Moynihan
Other investors in the audience, likely more concerned about pay caps than ice caps, shouted the activist down before he could finish his question.
In response to another question about Warren E. Buffett's recent $5 billion cash infusion, Mr. Moynihan said he was "very pleased" with the investment.
One questioner who didn't identify himself asked Mr. Moynihan if Bank of America had been asked by the Federal Reserve or other regulators to raise capital in the wake of Mr. Buffett's investment. Mr. Moynihan said they had not.
That same person then asked Mr. Moynihan the toughest question he's faced all day: "Can you or would you bankrupt Countrywide?"
Mr. Moynihan answered that in dealing with the troubled mortgage giant, the bank "looks at all our options on everything."
When the questioner followed up by asking Mr. Moynihan if, in essence, he was saying that bankrupting Countrywide was a viable option, Mr. Moynihan again demurred.
"There are options around all this stuff that we continue to work on," he said.
Mr. Moynihan then exited the stage.