Congress zeroes in on Ken Lewis


It's the story of the preacher and the banker and the once-venerable financial services firm.

Congressman Edolphus "Ed" Towns, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, comes from a world far away from the hustle and bustle of Wall Street. The New York Democrat represents a racially and economically diverse district in New York City's Brooklyn borough. An ordained Baptist minister, Towns preaches on Sundays.

Kenneth Lewis, chief executive at Bank of America Corp. (BAC), is a numbers guy. He began his career as a credit analyst before moving up the management ladder. He cobbled together a string of acquisitions culminating with last year's $50 billion deal to acquire Merrill Lynch. Lewis earned nearly $30 million in total compensation in 2007 and 2008. Earlier this year, Lewis was removed as chairman, and some shareholders who were angered by Bank of America's poor share performance had wanted him ousted as CEO as well.