BofA aims to build client relationships with international panel

Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:59pm EST

Jan 24 (Reuters) - Bank of America Corp, best known as a U.S. consumer bank, has formed an international panel of advisors to give it insights on global markets and help it build client relationships.

The 13-member global advisory council gives executives at the second-largest U.S. bank access to business leaders, former government officials and academics in countries from Ghana to Kuwait to France.

Members include former French Finance Minister Thierry Breton, former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and former ABC News President David Westin, the bank said Thursday.

Chief Executive Brian Moynihan, who is attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, will chair the council, which does not have any oversight role at the bank. The group will hold its first annual meeting in early March in Hong Kong.

The council has been in the works since last year. [ID: nL2E8ES3EY]

Other banks have similar panels. JPMorgan Chase & Co's international council is chaired by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, according to the bank's 2011 annual report.

Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Bank of America expanded its international reach when it bought investment bank Merrill Lynch in 2009. In the past few years, though, Moynihan has scaled back the bank's overseas presence, selling non-U.S. credit card and wealth management businesses.

Bank of America's non-U.S. revenue climbed to $19.8 billion in 2011, up from $15.1 billion a year earlier, but overseas income still only comprised about 21 percent of the company's total, according to the bank's most recent annual report.

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