Bank of America (BAC) has officially finished swallowing Merrill Lynch.

The country's second-largest bank on Tuesday merged its Merrill subsidiary into its main unit, almost five years after buying the investment bank at the height of the financial crisis. Bank of America assumed all of Merrill Lynch's obligations under its outstanding debt securities, which totaled approximately $61 billion on Monday, the bank said in a regulatory filing.

The transaction was expected; Bank of America had quietly disclosed its plans to dissolve Merrill in August, in a regulatory filing from the remaining Merrill Lynch subsidiary. That subsidiary will no longer file separate reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Bank of America said Tuesday.

The bank will continue to use the Merrill Lynch name and brand, and said that the merger will have no impact on its customers. Bank of America, with its North Carolina headquarters and its large bread-and-butter branch network, has had a vastly different image and culture from the exclusive, wealth-focused Merrill Lynch and its Wall Street financial advisers. But it has tried to take advantage of the brand difference; since completing the transaction in early 2009, Bank of America has kept using the Merrill Lynch name in order to distinguish many of its operations and products for wealthier customers.

 

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