Bank of America (NYS: BAC) is a prime example of a struggling American bank taking desperate measures to keep itself afloat. After deciding to sell off its credit card and real estate businesses recently, the beleaguered bank has now decided to reshuffle its top guard. It has shaken up its management's ranks by announcing the departure of two senior executives.

The divestment continues
BoA has been desperately selling its noncore assets to meet upcoming capital requirements and strengthen its capital ratios. Besides that, it is being plagued by huge legal liabilities. It is now in talks with The Blackstone Group (NYS: BX) to sell the real estate investments held by its Merrill Lynch unit. The sale, which is still in the works, is part of its efforts to realign its balance sheet and become leaner and meaner. The bank has gone for quite a few spinoffs in the recent past to achieve this goal.

Since credit card portfolios are deemed risky and require more capital to be put up, BoA is trying to slim down its card business. While it's selling its MBNA Canada credit card arm to Toronto-Dominion Bank (NYS: TD) , it is also exiting its international card business. After selling its Spanish card unit to Apollo (NAS: APOL) and another unit in the U.K. to Barclays (NYS: BCS) , it has recently announced its intention to put up its other card units in Ireland and the U.K. Last year, BoA also sold off First Republic Bank (NYS: FRC) and offloaded $43.6 million of its shares in BlackRock (NYS: BLK) .

The Foolish bottom line
BoA is likely to continue shedding noncore assets till it strengthens its balance sheet and frees up enough cash. The selling of its assets might help the bank improve its capital ratios and meet higher incoming capital requirements. But it cannot continue selling off its parts forever without cutting too close to the bone.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Zeeshan Siddique does not own any of the stocks mentioned in the article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of BlackRock. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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September 10 2011 at 6:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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September 09 2011 at 7:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply