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Bank of America Holder Rebukes Lewis

Read the entire interview for access to an audio file of Lauren LaCapra's interview with Jerry and Jonathan Finger.

Updated from 2:46 p.m. EDT

Bank of America (BAC) Chairman and CEO Ken Lewis appeared on television Thursday morning in a lengthy interview about his company, its contested acquisitions and the state of the economy.

Lewis painted everything in rosy hues -- predicting the economy will vastly improve over the next year, characterizing Bank of America as strong and profitable, and defending the acquisitions of Countrywide and Merrill Lynch as some of the best.

One long-time stockholder, though, sees things differently.

Jerry Finger, a high-profile investor who has held a stake in BofA and its predecessors through his investment firm Finger Management for over a decade, and his son Jonathan, who is a partner in the firm, spoke with TheStreet.com to provide some counterpoints. Finger Management has launched an effort to convince shareholders to vote against Lewis and two other board members at the upcoming annual meeting.

A condensed version of the interview with Jerry and Jonathan Finger follows:

TheStreet.com: What did you think about all of what Ken Lewis said this morning on CNBC?

Jerry: He left out so many things. He didn't address the capital issues. BofA right now only has 2.8% equity relative to total assets. They'll more than likely have to increase their capital. And then he didn't [fully] address their present asset quality. For example, the credit-card delinquency is about almost 8%, and that corresponds to peers that are at about 5%.

TheStreet.com: He said that those are tapering off a bit and he was striking an overall optimistic tone. Do you think he was not being totally transparent about what's going on?

Jerry: I don't think that he's really looking at the situation in a realistic way. We're concerned as shareholders with shareholder value. What has happened over the term of his presence, over let's say the past five years, I believe that the bank's fiscal situation has deteriorated.

Stock quotes in this article: BAC, C 

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