Are the world's leading banks at the brink of failure?
*Financial Times, by Sundeep Tucker, January 16, 2009:
"Bank of America gets $138bn lifeline
Bank of America will on Friday receive $20bn in fresh capital from the US government and a guarantee on most of a further $118bn of potential losses on toxic assets.
The emergency bail-out will help to cushion the blow from a deteriorating balance sheet at Merrill Lynch, the brokerage BofA acquired earlier this month.
Details of the BofA rescue package were released in Washington DC in the early hours of Friday morning US time, in a joint statement from the US Treasury, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
The capital injection comes the day after US lawmakers voted to release a second tranche of funding under the $700bn troubled asset relief programme (Tarp), and just hours before BofA reported a fourth-quarter loss of $2.39bn – its first loss since 1991.
Merrill Lynch lost a record $15.31bn in the quarter, though its results are not included in BofA’s figures.
The results came as rival Citigroup confirmed it would break itself up by separating higher-risk US consumer finance and securities businesses from its global commercial banking operations in an attempt to ensure its survival. The bank reported a fourth-quarter loss of $8.29bn.
The BofA rescue package is on top of the $25bn the bank received from Tarp funds last October, and underscores the depth of the financial difficulties affecting the world’s leading banks."
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