"How does that ultimately get resolved and how long does that take?" Finger asks. "I think that's an area where they could shed some additional light on their strategy in terms of what their plans are. One thing we'd like to see is a better explanation to shareholders about whether they've looked at putting Countrywide into bankruptcy and, if so, what are the results of that analysis?"
Finger also expressed grave concerns about Bank of America's brand, citing a
recent survey by America Banker and Reputation Institute
in which banks as an industry struggled but Bank of America fared especially poorly.
Finger believes Bank of America needs to undergo a sweeping effort to overhaul its image, similar to what Chrysler did with Lee Iacocca in the 1980's. He fears consumers looking to open a bank account or take out a mortgage simply don't consider Bank of America at this point because they don't trust the bank. Fixing this will require "more than just running a couple of ads," Finger says.
Most alarming to Finger, however, is that he doesn't "get the sense that there's a great sense of alarm anywhere in the executive suite that this is an important issue."
An email message to two Bank of America spokesmen wasn't returned.
Written by Dan Freed in New York
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