Brian T. Moynihan

Brian T. Moynihan
Davos, January 2010
Born (1959-10-09) October 9, 1959 (age 54)
Marietta, Ohio, U.S.[1]
Residence Charlotte, North Carolina, US
Alma mater Brown University
U. of Notre Dame (J.D.)
Occupation President & CEO, Bank of America
Salary $1,940,070 (FY2010)[2]
Religion Roman Catholic
Spouse(s) Susan E. Berry
Children 3[1]

Brian Thomas Moynihan (born October 9, 1959) is an American lawyer, businessman and the President and CEO of Bank of America. He also joined the Board of Directors, following his promotion to President and CEO.[3][4] He resides with his family outside of Boston, Massachusetts.

Early life

Moynihan was born in Marietta, Ohio in 1959.[1] He is the sixth of eight children.[5] The youngest of the eight, Moynihan's brother, Patrick, is the president of The Haitian Project, which runs a private Catholic boarding school for Haiti's disadvantaged in Port-au-Prince.[5]

Moynihan graduated from Brown University in 1981, where he majored in history, co-captained the rugby team, and met his future wife, classmate Susan E. Berry.[6][7]

He earned a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School,[8] before returning to Providence, Rhode Island to join Edwards & Angell LLP, the city’s largest corporate law firm.[7]


Moynihan held numerous banking positions before becoming president of consumer and small business banking at Bank of America in January 2009.[9] He originally joined Fleet Boston in April 1993 as deputy general counsel, after being recruited from Edwards & Angell by Fleet's then-CEO, Terrence Murray.[8] From 1999 to April 2004, he served as executive vice president, managing Fleet's brokerage and wealth management division after 2000. After Bank of America merged with FleetBoston Financial in 2004, Moynihan joined the bank as president of global wealth and investment management.[10]

From December 2008 to January 2009, Moynihan served as general counsel for Bank of America. From October 2007 to December 2008, he served as president of global corporate and investment banking. Moynihan became CEO of Merrill Lynch after its sale to Bank of America in September 2008, and became the CEO of Bank of America after Ken Lewis stepped down in 2010.[9]

On February 10, 2011, Dan Freed of CNBC reported that “Bank of America bulls are feeling brilliant, as their bank is up 47 percent year to date, making it best performer in the Standard & Poor’s 500 year to date.”[11]

On July 7, 2011, CNN's reported that “With its damaged reputation and huge mortgage losses, Bank of America is still reeling from the financial crisis. But CEO Brian Moynihan may be the right guy to turn things around.” While for many “BofA epitomizes the sorry state of the whole damaged U.S. economy” and “Moynihan did little to dispel that image” in his first seventeen months on the job, he then “rocked Wall Street by unveiling a landmark settlement that takes a giant step toward finally putting the home loan mess behind Bank of America. Moynihan announced that BofA will pay $8.5 billion to 22 big investors...which claimed that Countrywide had misrepresented the quality of loans it sold them. In a single stroke, he effectively removed the biggest cloud over the company's future....It may be the single best headline in financial services since the credit crisis began....The victory shows that Moynihan has been vastly underrated....a close look at his career reveals that he's proven his mettle for two decades as a dealmaker, team builder, and crisis manager. And he is perhaps uniquely suited for the job of chief executive in today's banking world. The business is now so complicated and so fraught with hidden dangers lodged in such esoteric products, that the best leaders are those who are totally immersed in the data and details -- the ones who serve as their own risk managers. That's Moynihan.”

“Best of all,” added Tully, “Moynihan is the architect of a radical blueprint his rivals would be wise to follow. In effect, he wants to turn back the clock, to run Bank of America the way banks were managed before the industry -- led by BofA -- embraced a strategy of growth at all costs. His goal is to avoid the chronic cycle of making lots of money in good times, then handing it all back in a downturn. It's something few banks have ever accomplished....Moynihan is pledging that this approach will make Bank of America into one of the most profitable companies on the planet.” [12]

On August 9, 2011, Susanne Craig of the New York Times reported that “Moynihan, who has been under fire for his bank’s dismal performance, has agreed to field questions from investors on Wednesday.”[13]

On August 25, 2011, Drew Sandholm of CNBC noted that “Despite having recently told investors Bank of America...doesn't need to raise capital, CEO Brian Moynihan will accept $5 billion in capital from famed investor Warren Buffett. The deal not only surprised the 'Fast Money' traders on Thursday, it also caused them to question Moynihan's credibility.” Sandholm quoted Veracruz founder Steve Cortes: “When you tell me two weeks ago that you don't need capital and you go out and you give this kind of preferred status to capital, to me, that is scary.” Sandholm added that the Buffett deal “hurts investor confidance [sic], trader Guy Adami complained, because investors wonder why they weren't offered the same kinds of terms and conditions. Options trader Jon Najarian agreed, adding Moynihan should have turned Buffett down or offered him to buy common stock.”[14]

On September 8, 2011, Bloomberg Businessweek ran a very long article entitled “Can Brian Moynihan Save Bank of America?” and subtitled “The CEO holds the fate of the U.S.'s largest bank—and the entire financial system—in his unproven hands.” Paul M. Barrett and Dawn Kopecki reported that Bank of America's share price had halved between January and July, raising the prospect of a forced merger with JP Morgan Chase, but that thanks to Warren Buffett's August purchase of $5 billion in preferred stock and Moynihan's September “reshuffling [of] management ranks,” the bank’s share prices rebounded.

Barrett and Kopecki wrote that Moynihan is admired for his “herculean work ethic and intelligence” but that he lacks charisma, humor, and eloquence, and is widely called “the Mumbler.” Although Moynihan “has overpromised on critical occasions, most notably in predicting prematurely that he would raise the bank’s penny-a-share dividend this year,” he “is different from the generation of hubristic bankers” who “built the behemoths that were too big to manage and ultimately too big for Washington to allow to go under.” They noted, too, that Moynihan had been singled out in Jack Welch's 2005 book Winning “as a model of corporate stamina”: “He showed exactly what you should show if you want to survive a merger—enthusiasm, optimism, and thoughtful support.” He was awarded the CEO position after sharing with the search committee his vision for the bank's future: “enough already with the acquisitions, let’s get back to banking (or words to that effect).”

Barrett and Kopecki wrote that Moynihan “sees one company, while Wall Street lately sees another.” “We have the strongest capital we’ve ever had in the company for decades,” Moynihan told them. “We have the strongest liquidity.” The question, then, is: “How will Moynihan close the perception gap?” His answer: “We have to keep educating and pounding and pounding and pounding....The No. 1 thing for me was to make the company clearer, more focused, get away from the acquisition heritage of big is great, as opposed to great is great.” Barrett and Kopecki also noted that “regulators at the Federal Reserve and Treasury Dept....say they have watched Moynihan’s performance and are mostly pleased by what they’ve seen. In fact they applaud his shrinking the company and similar moves by some of his competitors.” Still, perils remain: Barrett and Kopecki quote one observer as saying that Moynihan “has got to know there are more losses ahead, enough to kill a bank....No model exists for what happens next.”[15]

On September 12, 2011, CNBC's John Carney, noting that Moynihan “once again laid out his company's plan to meet regulatory capital requirements and denied that the bank will have to issue new stock to raise capital,” observed that “Moynihan seems to view capital purely as a regulatory compliance issue. As long as the bank is in compliance with regulatory requirements, he's satisfied that it has enough capital. What Moynihan misses is that capital requirements exist to support market requirements. They are supposed to make sure that banks have enough capital in good times so that when bad times descend, investors and counterparties don't panic about the financial condition of the bank....Moynihan says that Warren Buffett's $5 billion counts as Tier 1 Capital. But the markets have largely ignored the investment, most likely because it looks a lot more like debt than capital.”[16]

On October 26, 2011, The Huffington Post's Jillian Berman wrote that Moynihan “says the public needs to start thinking before they criticize his company” - thinking, that is, “about how much good” BoA employees do, “whether it's volunteer hours, charitable giving we do, serving clients and customers well.” These remarks came in response to “an outpouring of criticism since announcing last month it would start charging customers $5 per month to use their debit cards for purchases.” Berman noted that BoA “has also been hammered in the stock and bonds markets” and “was the worst performer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average for two-quarters straight...while Moody's downgraded the bank last month.” She added that while the CEO of JPMorgan Chase received a $19 million raise in 2010, Moynihan's salary stayed at $950,000.[17]

On December 27, 2011, Julia LaRoche in Business Insider wrote that Moynihan “admitted the proposed $5 monthly fee for debit card users wasn't the best idea.” She quoted him as saying: “We struck a chord with customers that no one anticipated. We learned our lesson and stopped it.”[18]

A month later on January 25, 2012, Moynihan began discussing his plan for improving the companies stock price:
“What we need to do is to continue to fine-tune the company, give capital ratios where people understood that we had the capital we knew we had. And then they saw that and that’s why you saw some response in the stock....The core issue now is to drive the core earnings, and we’ve got to get the costs down in the company, which we’re working on. And then as the economy continues to move along, even at the 2 percent growth level, we’ll start to materialize more and more earnings, and that’s what we need to do.”

Bruno J. Navarro of CNBC noted the challenge of improving B of A's stock price, as it had dipped 46% in 2011 due to litigation in its housing market sector, the $5 debit card fee and increased government regulation.[19] In the same year that Bank of America relinquished its crown as the largest bank in the U.S., Moynihan took a steep pay cut.[20]

However, despite Warren Buffett's vote of confidence for the banking industry, remarking that “The banking industry is back on its feet” and that Moynihan “has made excellent progress in cleaning” up the mistakes made by his predecessors,[21] others were not sold. Linnette Lopez of Business Insider noted that "a group of law professors and activists from a non-profit called Public Citizen sent a 24 page petition to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Geithner asking them to consider breaking up and reforming Bank of America."[22]


Following a September 2011 decision to implement a $5 monthly fee for Bank of America debit card users, the company faced what CNN's Jennifer Liberto described as a "populist backlash," despite Moynihan's defense of the decision, claiming the bank had a "right to make a profit." [23] Just over a month after announcing the new fee, however, Bank of America announced it would be scrapped. It was later reported that the failed fee plan led to a 20% increase in account closures during the last three months of 2011, and Moynihan admitted that "we had some impact from the $5 debit fee. That’s why we made a decision to reverse it.”[24]

Bank of America's 2012 annual shareholder meeting was held in Charlotte, NC, "as protests swirled inside and outside," according to the San Francisco Chronicle. There were many complaints from shareholders regarding the bank's mortgage servicing operations, decreased share prices, and other issues. Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters converged outside the building, which they were barred from entering by police and metal barricades. In response to the criticisms of the bank's mortgage servicing operations, Moynihan tried to reassure the audience, saying "you can call us and we will figure it out," which elicited laughter from the crowd.[25]


Business positions
Preceded by
Ken Lewis
Bank of America CEO
Succeeded by
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