TSC Ratings provides exclusive stock, ETF and mutual fund ratings and commentary based on award-winning, proprietary tools. Its "safety first" approach to investing aims to reduce risk while seeking solid outperformance on a total return basis.The tide seems to be turning for Bank of America ( BAC), which agreed to buy Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch last year while both were on the verge of collapse. Chief Executive Officer Ken Lewis has said the bank was profitable in the first months of 2009 and predicted the company will generate earnings of as much as $50 billion before provisions and taxes. Bank of America has received $45 billion in the Troubled Assets Relief Program plus a guarantee of $118 billion of its assets. Add to this the benefits from the Financial Accounting Standards Board's relaxation of the mark-to-market accounting rules, announced yesterday, and good times could be ahead for Bank of America. Regardless of the promise that these developments have for Bank of America, an investment in the company's stock shouldn't be considered safe just yet. Bank of America is saddled with an adjusted beta value of more than 2, twice as much as the market as a whole. The shares have plunged 82% in the past year, more than twice that of the Dow. This year, the bank's stock has halved. The health of Bank of America took major hits over the past year, with the Countrywide and Merrill Lynch acquisitions proving trickier and costlier than had first appeared. This, with the addition of Bank of America's exposure to credit card and mortgage debt, has created an ugly balance sheet for this massive institution. Relaxation of mark-to-market accounting rules may help bolster Bank of America's balance sheet, assuming the company wrote down troubled assets well past internally generated assumptions of fair value, but it could also disguise problems.