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Leaked E-Mails from Bank of America Much Ado About What We Already Know

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Few things are as pleasurable in our modern world as when an institution you loathe becomes the subject of a Wikileak attack. There’s a kind of joy, after all, in watching a giant of industry, especially one that rapes and pillages its customers with fees, succumb to its own malfeasance. The joy is greater still when the wrongdoings are exposed by a Robin Hood-esque organization like Wikileaks or the hacker group Anonymous.

So when J-Dawg Assange said a few months back that he had internal e-mails from Bank of America that could sink the company, the disgruntled among us had great cause for celebration.

And so today, the emails hit. Not by way of the embattled Assange, but through the grammatically frustrating website [conjugate the friggin’ verb!].

The site, which has, of course, crashed, offers up correspondences that basically showed how employees at one BofA insurance unit tried to hide foreclosure data from the government.



What’s shocking about today’s dump of data isn’t the questionably illegal practices that have been exposed. What’s shocking is that any of this is news given the sheer amount of demonstrably illegal activities in which Bank of America has ALREADY engaged, confessed to, and in many instances, even paid for.

Let’s recap BofA’s recent history:

Thousands of embarrassing company documents already went public during Congressional hearings.

The bank already agreed to pay millions for municipal bid-rigging practices.

It already agreed to pay millions to settle charges that Countrywide Financial improperly charged customers.

It already reached a $150 million settlement with the SEC after being accused of failing to disclose information during the acquisition of Merrill Lynch.

It already faces lawsuit from the New York Attorney General for misleading shareholders about losses at Merrill.

It’s already dealing with several probes into its foreclosure practices.

And you know what? Over the past two years, Bank of America shares have increased 144%. Yup, 144%.

Is today’s news important? Absolutely. But context is important, too. And if we’ve learned anything about how a company’s ethics impact, or in the case of BofA don’t impact, its share price, we’ve learned pretty much nothing at all.

For more on the Bank of America / Wikileaks story, check out Minyanville’s Pop Biz video below.

POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.