Magazine article American Banker

B of A Risk Chief out; Underwriting Revamp Ordered

Magazine article American Banker

B of A Risk Chief out; Underwriting Revamp Ordered

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Davis

Bank of America Corp.'s chief risk officer unexpectedly stepped down Thursday as part of the company's effort to re-engineer its credit culture.

Amy Brinkley agreed to retire June 30 after Kenneth D. Lewis, B of A's president and chief executive, determined that it needed a different approach to underwriting, said company spokesman Robert Stickler. Neither the board nor regulators were said to be involved in the move, though chairman Walter Massey was aware the change was being made."This was a management decision made by management," Stickler said.

Succeeding Brinkley, 53, will be Gregory Curl, 60, B of A's global corporate strategic development and planning executive. His charge from Lewis: to change B of A's credit underwriting to reflect what a likely permanent shift toward lower pricing. Curl was already a member of the Charlotte company's management committee.

Sticker said Lewis, Brinkley and Curl weren't available for comment."We understand that sources of income are going to be restricted and loss rates need to be lower," Stickler said. "We're already seeing that in the credit card space."

Though Bank of America returned to profitability in the first quarter after an abysmal end to 2008, loan losses ballooned, particularly in residential lending, credit cards and small-business lending. The company's first-quarter loan-loss provision spiked 85% from the fourth quarter;nonperforming assets rose 41%.

The bank, which raised its risk profile by acquiring Countrywide Financial Corp. and Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., accepted $45 billion from the Treasury Department and is nearing $33.9 billion more in capital to satisfy requirements after government stress tests.

Gary Townsend, the CEO of Hill-Townsend Capital LLC, said it would be wrong to blame Brinkley for those developments. …

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