Almost every big bank made headlines last year, and it looks like we can expect one bank to stand out as the bank to watch in 2009. You all voted Bank of America as the best commercial bank of 2008 and the experts seem to agree that it's number one. While the process of purchasing Merrill Lynch began in September, the transaction was made final on Thursday, making Bank of America the biggest bank in the US and ending 94 years of independence for Merrill.
Bank of America's assets now include brokerage, credit card, investment banking, mortgage and wealth management operations, and a sturdy base of deposits. Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis, named Banker of the Year last month for the second time, said, "We are now uniquely positioned to win market share and expand our leadership position in markets around the world." Still, the expanded bank will face challenges in 2009 and beyond, as Lewis plans to cut at least 30,000 jobs to save $21 billion by 2012.