Lewis: No reason why BofA should be nationalized

Bank of America Corp. chief executive Ken Lewis issued a statement this afternoon that said his company is strong and not in need of nationalization despite persistent speculation of a government takeover that has helped bring the Charlotte bank's stock below $3 per share today.

“We see no reason why a company that is profitable, with strong capital levels and liquidity and continues to lend actively could be considered for nationalization,” Lewis said in the statement. “Speculation about nationalization is based on a lack of understanding of our bank's financial position as well as a lack of appreciation for the adverse ramifications for our customers and the economy.”

This afternoon the bank's shares fell 26 percent to $2.91. Other big banks stocks getting punished are: Wells Fargo & Co. (-23 percent to $9.29), Citigroup Inc. (-29 percent to $1.80) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (-7.5 percent to $19.06).

In a Bloomberg Television interview today, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said it may be necessary to nationalize some banks for a short time.