BofA CEO: Talk of Nationalization “Absurd”

Bank of America chief executive Kenneth Lewis dismissed speculation that his bank needs more money from the federal government, adding that he does not expect BofA to be nationalized.

The nation’s largest bank saw its stock price fall to a 25-year low last week on speculation it might need more government support.

Lewis, speaking in CNBC, said he has talked to government officials recently and that there was no mention of nationalizing the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank.

“It’s just absurd,” Lewis told CNBC. “I’ve never had anybody even hint at it.”

Lewis showed support for Bank of America by purchasing 200,000 shares in his struggling bank valued at nearly $1 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It was the second time in recent weeks that Lewis has injected his own money into the bank.

Bank of America shares have been pummeled in recent weeks after the bank recently disclosed its first quarterly loss in 17 years. In an effort to reassure shareholders, Lewis recently met with his directors.

"Every member of the management executive team participated, as we discussed in great detail the company's most recent performance and our plans for getting through the recession in a position of strength," he wrote in the memo, according to the Associated Press.

Lewis added that he expects Bank of America to repay the $45 billion it received from the Troubled Asset Relief Program within three years.

Bank of America has had a good 2009 so far, according to a Reuters report, boosted by a boom in mortgage refinancing.

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