GLOBAL IMPACT

Responsible Business Practices

$475 billion in credit extended globally in 2012.

Putting responsibility into practice

Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individuals, small- and middle-market businesses, large corporations, and governments with a full range of banking, investment management and other financial and risk management products and services. Since the beginning of 2010, we have made significant progress transforming our company into a simpler, more efficient enterprise by selling non-core assets, continuing to manage risk exposures and building capital. We serve approximately 51 million consumers, clients and small businesses.

Our Code of Ethics guides us in all that we do. The Code, which is grounded in our values, outlines the business practices and policies, as well as professional and personal conduct, that all employees are expected to adopt and uphold.

Our responsible business practices have a direct, positive impact on two areas critical to our growth:

  • Our strength and stability as a global financial institution
  • Our capacity to meet the financial needs of our customers and clients in all phases of their lives
Learn more about our recent efforts in these two areas:

Strengthening our long term stability

We have defined our core mission as making people's financial lives better by building closer connections with stakeholders, including our customers, clients, investors, regulators, community partners and employees. Our focus has been on strengthening our financial foundation, simplifying and integrating the company, and working to resolve legacy issues, including litigation, which arose as a result of the economic downturn. We are continuing to improve the products, services, advice and expertise our customers and clients need to buy houses, grow businesses, manage their finances and improve their lives.

Among our achievements in 2012, a number of balance sheet improvements reflect the underlying strength and earnings potential of our company.

  • Built a fortress balance sheet, improving our Tier one common capital ratio to 11.06 percent, among the highest for U.S. banks
  • Reduced long-term debt by nearly $100 billion from the end of 2011 to $276 billion.
  • Maintained significant global excess liquidity sources of $372 billion
  • Completed the divesture over three years of more than $60 billion in non-core activities with no meaningful impact to core earnings
  • Renewed investor confidence and trust in the bank as reflected in our financial and share price performance

Read more about our long-term financial stability in the fourth quarter 2013 earnings announcement or the 2013 Annual Report.

Assisting customers

To help customers better understand financial products, we have enhanced access to financial education, engaged in hundreds of community outreach events and partnered with nonprofits to focus on the most pressing social and economic issues. We also improved the clarity and transparency of product information through our Clarity Commitment™ for mortgages, home equity loans and credit card accounts. We worked with Pew Charitable Trusts to launch an enhanced checking Clarity Statement™, a two-page document that clearly and concisely explains the fees and policies related to the specific checking account being opened.

We also created a companion guide to help low-and moderate-income and multicultural customers manage credit appropriately, and provided more information on our Home Loans website outlining our financial education initiatives for homebuyers and homeowners.  

Our specialized sales force of financial solutions advisors, mortgage loan officers and small business bankers increased to more than 6,900 specialists in the third quarter of 2013, up from 18 percent from the same period a year ago, reflecting the company’s continued commitment to deliver a “one company” experience to broaden and deepen customer relationships.

How we support homeownership

As part of our stakeholder engagement with leading community organizations and our customers, we have taken steps to modify our mortgage lending practices. These include aligning with the NAACP’s Responsible Lending Principles, creating simple and transparent financial documents, and increasing levels of staff support for homeowners.   

To strike a better balance between the safety and soundness of our products and the needs of consumers, we also made credit requirement changes to some of our products. These changes were based on our understanding that some home loan customers, particularly low- and moderate-income individuals, are more susceptible to economic downturns. Our revisions also reflect an anticipation of proposed regulatory standards.

How we help customers with homeownership

We continued to support the recovery of the housing market by helping customers in need of mortgage assistance and responsibly extending mortgage credit.

  • Bank of America funded $24.4 billion in residential home equity loans during the third quarter of 2013, helping nearing 97,000 homeowners either refinance an existing mortgage or purchase a home through our retail channels. This includes more than 5,300 first-time homebuyer mortgages and more than 32,000 mortgages to low- and moderate-income borrowers. 

How we help customers stay in their homes

We have an array of programs with tools designed to make mortgage payments more affordable for our customers, including reduction in interest rate, forbearance of mortgage principal and interest, and mortgage principal reduction. To date, we have completed more than 1 million modifications for our customers, including through the government’s Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP) and our own proprietary programs.

We are an industry leader in developing and participating in specialized programs for borrowers in need of assistance, including programs for military servicemembers, as well as unemployment, reinstatement and principal-reduction programs through the Hardest Hit Fund. In addition, under terms of the global settlement between mortgage servicers and state attorneys general, Department of Justice and other federal agencies, we are developing additional consumer relief programs, including principal reduction offers, and interest rate reduction and second lien modification programs.

Find out more about these homeowner programs at: Bank of America Home Loan Assistance.

What we offer to customers affected by the housing crisis

Home loan modifications and alternatives
Through all programs, Bank of American has completed more than 40,000 modifications in the third quarter of 2013, with a total of nearly 1.3 million since 2008. We also offered foreclosure alternative options including completing nearly 14,300 short sales and deeds-in-lieu in the third quarter of 2013, with a total of 467,000 completed since 2008.

Find out more about these homeowner programs at: Bank of America Home Loan Assistance

Outreach efforts
Through our Customer Assistance Centers (CAC) and homeowner events, we provide face-to-face assistance to individuals and families in communities heavily affected by the housing crisis to better understand their situations and deliver solutions to meet their needs. During the third quarter of 2013, we met with more than 9,000 customers at our CACs, with more than 203,000 customers since 2009.

We work closely with local nonprofits to promote the value of our CACs and homeowner outreach events. To help as many customers in need of mortgage assistance as possible, we provide a point-of-contact for HUD-approved nonprofit housing counseling organizations that are working with customers on their loan modifications, improving customer education, offering free finance and budget counseling, and working with other agencies that assist customers through the modification process.

How we offer other alternatives to foreclosure

In cases where a customer is unable to qualify for a loan modification or is no longer interested in remaining in their home, our goal is to help them transition from their home without going through foreclosure. We offer a variety of short sale and deed-in-lieu of foreclosure programs that have helped hundreds of thousands of customers to avoid foreclosure over the past several years. In many cases, these programs provide funds to help with relocation to new housing, including a short sale relocation assistance program that provides from $2,500 to $30,000 to qualifying customers. We are also piloting a Mortgage to Lease™ program, which allows a limited number of eligible customers facing foreclosure an opportunity to resolve their delinquency through a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, but remain in their homes as tenants. In partnership with the United Way, we’ve developed a Home Transition Guide that provides customers information about all of our foreclosure alternatives and access to community resources.

Find out more about these homeowner programs at: Bank of America Home Loan Assistance.

How we help stabilize communities

Property donations
Along with national and local organizations, Bank of America is helping to revitalize communities affected by property abandonment. Our property donations focus on six areas: members of the military, first responders/police officers, community development, the environment, disaster relief and creating affordable housing through our partner Habitat for Humanity.

We announced a three-year commitment to donate up to 1,000 properties to military veteran-support organizations and first responders through nonprofit, community-based groups. We also committed to work with Habitat for Humanity to donate up to 2,000 vacant properties that will be used to provide affordable housing for low-income families over the next three years. As of October 15, 2013, we have donated 3,789 properties.

How we support the U.S. military

Bank of America is committed to connecting our service members and veterans to the things they need to transition back into civilian life. That includes funding for charitable organizations, offering banking services and financial education for military families, recruiting and hiring veterans, and donating homes to returning service members. We have made a three-year commitment to donate up to 1,000 properties to injured military veterans and first responders. In 2012, we hired nearly 1,600 employees with military experience, surpassing our goal of 1,200 new hires. Today, we employ more than 6,000 veterans, National Guard and Reserve members.

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Hear From Our CEO

Hear From Our CEO 

Read what our CEO has to say about how we conduct our global business and hold ourselves accountable to our customers, employees, shareholders and the communities in which we do business.

Our Operating Principles

Our Operating Principles 

We are customer-driven, building a business model that enables us to serve customers' financial needs in ways that are easy, seamless and efficient.

Our Forward-Looking Approach

Our Forward-Looking Approach 

We're tackling a number of major issues facing our industry. We embarked on a series of significant changes since 2010 to strengthen our business and improve relationships with customers and clients.

Corporate Social Responsibility
DID YOU KNOW?
Participated in 323 home retention events in 2011