NEW YORK — Bank of America Corp. is within striking distance of raising the $33.9 billion in common equity it needs following the government's stress test.
The Charlotte bank said Wednesday that it's inked plans to add $26 billion in common equity, or 76% of the total $33.9 billion in common capital that banking regulators told the firm to raise.
The bank's announcement also included provisions for a future capital raise that likely would fulfill the mandate. Earlier this month, the government told 10 of the nation's largest banks to raise their levels of common equity, which is banks' primary cushion against losses and a source of assurance for large depositors.
Shares in Bank of America were up 1.5% to $11.15 in recent composite trading.
Bank of America said it has reached agreements to convert $5.9 billion of nongovernment-held preferred stock into about 436 million common shares. Unlike a similar deal announced by Citigroup Inc. in March, Bank of America's conversion of preferred shares into common shares is not an open offer to existing shareholders. Rather, Bank of America struck its deal with some unnamed institutional shareholders before the announcement.
According to an analysis by Dow Jones Newswires, the preferred holders who participate in the deal will, in aggregate, receive about 82 cents in Bank of America shares for every dollar held in preferred shares. The publicly traded preferred shares converted in the deal currently change hands between 40 cents and 70 cents on the dollar.
Actual conversion rates could vary, depending on the specific shares in question.
The preferred-stock conversion brings the bank's capital-raising effort to $26 billion. The total also includes $7.3 billion from selling a stake it holds in China Construction Bank Corp. (0939.HK). The bank also said it will consider selling some of its businesses, including First Republic Bank and Columbia Management Group.
Chief Financial Officer Joe Price, who noted Bank of America is pleased with the to-date capital-raising results, said most of the proceeds will go to "reduce reliance on government support." Bank of America has accepted more than $45 billion in public support, in part through its purchase last year of troubled Merrill Lynch & Co.
A number of large financial firms, including Citigroup, have raised common equity by asking preferred shareholders to convert their holdings to common shares.
Bank officials have said the company would be able to raise the $33.9 billion without taking additional government investment or converting the government's existing preferred shares into common stock, which would make the U.S. a substantial shareholder in the nation's largest bank by assets.