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Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan, who was named chairman this month, said legal costs stemming from defective mortgages are largely behind it.
The lender has spent more than $70 billion under Moynihan to settle disputes tied to the acquisitions of Countrywide Financial Corp. and Merrill Lynch Co., including accords tied to soured residential mortgage-backed securities, or RMBS.
“If you look at the different components of liability and the amount of settlements, whether it’s the RMBS cases, yes, its behind us,” Moynihan, 55, said today in a Bloomberg Television interview with Erik Schatzker. “Embedded in that is often the question, OK that’s over, now you can go concentrate on running the company. The answer is, we were running the company” all along, he said.
Bank of America, the second-biggest U.S. lender, said third-quarter profit increased in each of the firm’s major businesses except real estate, the unit that incurred most of the costs from a record settlement in August of almost $16.7 billion. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm is largely done paring business lines and is focused on running them profitably, said Moynihan, who is approaching his fifth anniversary as the lender’s CEO.
Moynihan’s comments on the mortgage settlements begin at the 13:16 in the below video:
“I always tell people I could do this for a long time,” Moynihan said. “What else would I want to do? This is a great job.”
The bank spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year for cybersecurity to protect against computer breaches, a sum that’s doubled or tripled over five years, Moynihan said.