Earlier this year, as many bankers moved cautiously through chaos, Bank of America's Cathy Bessant forged ahead, focused on making a deal.

The result: A joint venture agreement with transactions processor First Data. The deal, announced in June, combined BofA's large merchant customer base with First Data's transaction technology, offering updated merchant services such as loyalty programs and prepaid and mobile transactions. Bank of America contributed about 240,000 merchant relationships to the joint venture; First Data contributed about 140,000. The agreement added about $3.8 billion, pretax, to BofA's second-quarter earnings.

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