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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

BofA CEO Lewis: Now and Then

by Calculated Risk on 12/12/2007 02:36:00 PM

Back in June, Tanta celebrated some good news (with obvious sarcasm): The Drag Stops Here:

The worst U.S. housing slump in 16 years will begin to ease in the next month or two, and job growth will lift home prices and spur construction early next year, Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Lewis said.

``The drag stops in the next few months,'' Lewis said in an interview yesterday in New York. ``It's just about to be over. We're seeing the worst of it.''
Now from Bloomberg: Bank of America's Lewis Muffs Housing Market Forecast
Six months after saying the slowdown in U.S. housing sales was ``just about to be over,'' Lewis said today at an industry conference in New York that fourth-quarter profit will be ``quite disappointing'' and predicted a `challenging'' 2008 with higher writedowns for securities tied to the mortgage market.
Oops. Re-cork the Champagne!

Lewis did get something right in May: Bank of America's Lewis Calls for Lending `Sanity'
``We are close to a time when we'll look back and say we did some stupid things,'' Lewis said, speaking at a lunch at the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce in Zurich. ``We need a little more sanity in a period in which everyone feels invincible and thinks this is different.''
And he wasn't talking about "stupid things" in housing:
The chief executive said that while the bank has turned down some corporate customers as too risky, ``the deals we've turned down have been taken up quickly by others.''
...
Lewis, 60, said ``We need a deal to go bad, as long as we're not in it.''
Just remember he wasn't worried about housing - although he should have been - his concern was for corporate loans. Hmmm ... Chrysler?