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‘Frontline’ Investigates Bank of America Deal

An excerpt on Frontline's upcoming report on Bank of America and the government's new role in the banking system, told from the perspective of CEO Ken Lewis and the financial reporters who covered the story.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    The Bank of America deal is also the subject of the next "Frontline." It chronicles what happened behind the scenes in the wake of the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

    It's told through the eyes of Ken Lewis and the financial reporters covering the story.

    Here's an excerpt.

  • NARRATOR:

    The merger was approved. But, by mid-December, the truth about Merrill's balance sheet was unavoidable.

  • CHARLES DUHIGG, The New York Times:

    Ken Lewis has a meeting where he is told the projections for the losses that Merrill Lynch will have to report in the fourth quarter. And the losses are enormous. They're over $15 billion. They're larger than anything that has been announced previously.

  • NARRATOR:

    Ken Lewis now knew the Merrill merger could break his bank.

  • WOMAN:

    I don't think he anticipated the market deteriorating the way it did. And, certainly, he did not anticipate how stunning the losses would become.

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