Bank of America Corp. (BAC) Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis could probably convince Eskimos to borrow money to buy ice. The loquacious Lewis has been trying mightily to convince investors that he has not bitten off more than he can chew through the acquisition binge that put a dent in his banking empire.
Way back in 2007, Lewis snapped up LaSalle Bank Corp. from ABN AMRO Holding NV for $21 billion. Several months later, BofA gobbled up Countrywide Financial Corp., the troubled mortgage lender, for $4.1 billion. But the granddaddy of them all was the $50 billion purchase -- at the government's urging -- of Merrill Lynch.