BofA, Citi hid debt like Lehman

Wall Street sign 3Bank of America and Citigroup brushed off reports that they incorrectly hid from investors billions in debt — similar to what Lehman Brothers did — to obscure its true level of risk.  Company documents filed with regulators show the two Wall Street banks classified some short-term repurchase agreements (“repos”) as sales, which they should have shows as borrowings.  Law Professor Elizabeth Nowicki, a former SEC and Wall Street attorney, says such “repo” transactions should have been disclosed — even if they were legal.

“Isn’t it material to one poker player to know that all the other poker players at the table regularly cheat in other games, even if none of the players actually cheats in the game then being played?  Bank of America, Citi, and other banks using repos can count on being sued promptly by investors.”

Contact Elizabeth Nowicki, 518-867-5355, enowicki@bu.edu

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