Bank of America Discloses Research on Slavery Ties

Charlotte Business Journal, Aug. 24

Bank of America Corp. has released a research report that says none of BofA’s predecessor banks made a profit from slavery.

However, Heritage Research Center, the firm conducting the research, has found two examples of connections to slavery in the histories of BofA’s predecessors, both involving customers who listed slaves as collateral for personal debts.

In each case, the debts were paid and the banks never took possession of the slaves.

“The institution of slavery left an indelible and shameful mark on our nation’s history, and we regret any actions our predecessors may have taken that supported or tolerated the institution of slavery in America,” says BofA Chief Executive Ken Lewis.”

BofA says its charitable foundation will add to previous commitments by giving an additional $5 million over three years to institutions and programs involved in the preservation of African-American history.

Charlotte-based BofA (NYSE:BAC) and other financial institutions are researching their pasts because of municipal laws requiring companies seeking city business to acknowledge profits from slavery.

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In June, crosstown rival Wachovia Corp. apologized for its slavery ties, saying two of its predecessor companies, the Georgia Railroad and Banking Co. and the Bank of Charleston, were slaveowners.

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