This editorial appeared in The Charlotte Observer.
A lot of people aren't in the mood to like bankers these days. Ken Lewis' actions aren't helping to change that.
He has been Bank of America's PR nightmare lately. He has lost the sheen he had as BofA's calm, savvy, in-control CEO. He has been swaggering through the current banking crisis, projecting an image of one who is out of touch with the everyday investor's concerns.
Lewis furthered that image last week when he showed up in New York to answer questions from New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo about the $3.6 billion in year-end bonuses Merrill Lynch rushed out to employees just before BofA bought it. Lewis flew in on his corporate jet.
Make that his $50 million G-5 luxury corporate jet, one of the bank's nine jets. Lewis apparently didn't know or care that just days earlier President Obama had said the days of bank executives flying corporate jets were over. A company spokesman said the use of the jet was necessary because of "the timing of this meeting." But Lewis could have flown commercial for much less.
Lewis appears unconcerned about those questionable bonuses, too. Where the public and public officials are outraged, he comes off as blasé. Sources told ABC News that Lewis was combative in his meeting with Cuomo, and he has been less than contrite about the questionable decisions BofA and other financial institutions made that contributed to the nation's economic woes.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Charlotte Observer.