NEW YORK (
(C - Get Report)
's firing of CEO Vikram Pandit shows that bank boards may finally be taking their responsibilities seriously, so maybe
Bank of America
(BAC - Get Report)
's board will step up to the plate and dump their CEO, Brian Moynihan.
Bank of America shares have lost 37% since Moynihan took over as CEO in 2010--while Citigroup shares are up roughly 10% over the same time period. While most of Bank of America's problems stem from the acquisition of Countrywide in 2008, which can't be pinned on Moynihan, he hasn't been able to convince the market he's got his arms around the problem. He also hasn't been able to clearly articulate his strategy for the bank going forward, which is the reason a major investor in the shares and a prominent analyst who covers the company
can't agree on what it is
as longtime Bank of America shareholder Jonathan Finger of Finger Interests points out
, Moynihan could shed some additional light on whether Bank of America has considered putting Countrywide into bankruptcy and why it hasn't gone that route.
More important, though, and also noted by Finger, is that Bank of America's brand is in the toilet, and management seems to be unconcerned about this issue. In order for Bank of America to rebuild its consumer business, it will need to find a way to counter its image as a sleazy, inept corporate monolith that screws up people's paperwork and chucks them out of their homes. Since Moynihan can't seem to figure out a way to do that, Bank of America's board needs to find someone who can.
Finger doesn't want to see Moynihan get the boot as he believes it would just be a distraction at this point. There are also concerns about whether the bank could find anyone qualified to run it. But now that the housing market is rebounding, turning around Bank of America seems far easier than it did just a year ago. Attracting outside candidates ought not to be so difficult. Look at
and the remarkable job Bob Benmosche has done turning around that institution. Before Benmosche was brought in to lead AIG, no one would've believed anyone qualified wanted that job either.