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BofA

Bofa/20″/mike1st/mark2nd By JASON BOOTH Staff Reporter The resignation of a top senior Bank of America executive in Los Angeles, coming barely a month after the completion of NationsBank Corp.’s $47 billion acquisition of BankAmerica Corp., has raised questions about the newly merged bank’s future commitments to local community lending. Donald A. Mullane, BankAmerica Corp.’s executive vice president for corporate community development and chairman of Bank of America’s Community Development Bank, announced that he will leave by year end. Mullane’s resignation comes on the heels of the unexpected Oct. 20 resignation of BofA Chairman David Coulter. It also fuels expectations that as Bank of America and NationsBank continue to integrate, more senior BofA executives in L.A. and elsewhere in California may leave. “NationsBank knows and understands their people best,” said Bruce Raabe, an analyst at Collins & Co. in San Francisco. “So it wouldn’t surprise me to see them leave their people in the key positions.” According to sources within the bank, Mullane offered his resignation after NationsBank handed over day-to-day control of community lending operations to Catherine Bessant, a NationsBank executive based in Charlotte. Mullane’s pending departure is being viewed as a loss for economic development efforts in Los Angeles. Mullane, who had been based in L.A., was seen as having a deep understanding of local business conditions. “The exit of Don Mullane will be a blow to the leadership of community lending in Los Angeles,” said John Bryant, chairman of Operation Hope, an L.A.-based grassroots banking organization. “While we didn’t always agree on what should be done here, we always agreed that something had to be done.” Since opening in 1990, BofA’s Community Development Bank has funded more than $4 billion in small-business and affordable-housing loans, much of that in Los Angeles. Another area overseen by Mullane was Bank of America’s SBA loan program, a major source of capital for local small businesses. In fact, BofA was the largest source of Small Business Administration-guaranteed loans in L.A. County for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. Carry Walker, a BofA spokesman, said the pending departure of Mullane would not crimp the bank’s community lending activities. “Our CEO, Hugh McColl, has repeatedly said that we intend to be the preeminent community lender in the country,” Walker said. “L.A. is the new company’s largest, fastest-growing and most profitable market. Our local President Liam McGee grew up in L.A. and has a keen understanding of the local economic and ethnic diversity that sets it apart.”

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