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B of A is buying who? Not a total surprise, on reflection

Him: "Merrill Lynch has agreed to sell itself to Bank of America ..." Me: "-Merrill?! You mean Lehman Brothers." Him: "MERRILL." So ran the conversation in my home last night as my significant other read the breaking news headline from the New York Times. It was a shock since word was that Bank of America was likely to buy Lehman over the weekend. But on reflection, it wasn't shocking that if any bank had the money to shop right now it was Bank of

Him: "Merrill Lynch has agreed to sell itself to Bank of America ..."

Me: "-Merrill?! You mean Lehman Brothers."

Him: "MERRILL."

So ran the conversation in my home last night as my significant other read the breaking news headline from the New York Times.

It was a shock since word was that Bank of America was likely to buy Lehman over the weekend. But on reflection, it wasn't shocking that if any bank had the money to shop right now it was Bank of America.

Amid all the talk of a credit crunch, Bank of America has been blitzing me with credit offers. Now the bank that didn't get so mired in mucky mortgages is in on a marketing march in Manhattan, a market it entered a few years ago where it is clearly intent on winning market share.

I recently obtained my credit report, which confirmed a hunch-pooh-poohed by a Bank of America marketing executive in a conversation earlier this year-which the bank is particularly aggressive in credit/card marketing.

In the past 12 months, since the credit crisis officially began, Bank of America has made at least 10 credit inquiries "not [my] full credit report," but enough to extend a "firm offer" of credit, according to my triple-merged credit report.

Bank of America has made more than three times as many credit offers as anyone else. Citi came in second, at three credit-card offers, but Citi wasn't acting purely on unsolicited hope in that I had sought credit from them during the past year.

The latest Bank of America offers have been upped to $50,000, unsecured, with seemingly no questions asked.

The implication of open coffers-at a time when every dog on the street says you can't get credit-echoes the bank's current print marketing campaign, inviting consumers to seek credit.

You don't need to be an accountant or even see Bank of America's balance sheet to tell it's in a strong position in the industry right now.

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