Bank of America in talks to pay back some bailout funds

Bank of America Corp. is talking to federal officials about paying back part of its $45 billion in government bailout money, the Wall Street Journal reported late Monday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The Charlotte bank has indicated that it would first look to pay back the $20 billion it received in January to help stabilize its Merrill Lynch & Co. acquisition. Paying off those loans could help shed some of the government scrutiny over Bank of America's operations, including pay restrictions required of companies that have received "exceptional" aid.

The government is also pressing the bank to pay up to $500 million to extricate itself from a loss-sharing agreement that never went into effect, the paper said.

The government in January tentatively agreed to protect the bank against losses on $118 billion in troubled assets, but Bank of America in May said it wanted to cancel the extra safety net.

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