tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg December 3, 2015 7:00pm-8:01pm EST
announcer: from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." brian moynihan is here. he is chairman and ceo of bank of america. the company has completed a turnaround after eight years of costly litigation. it came from the financial crisis. the firm has repaired its balance sheet. it has reduced non-core assets like private equity and real estate businesses. the financial success remains closely connected to the u.s. economy. i'm pleased to have brian moynihan back at this table. brian: thank you for having me. charlie rose: you were hoping
the fed would raise interest rates before the end of the year? brian: i think yes because that means economy is growing and it means we make more money, but the reality is everything we see, it is. charlie rose: your instinct is it will because janet yellen has signaled it? brian: they have been pretty clear what the market. i think the statistics that have come out since last time, they have the consideration that would favor it. with a large bank, it is hard to predict what the fed would do. i think you back off and think about the economy. what we see is consumers are still spending. businesses are still borrowing. there is oil and gas. those are retracting because of the oil prices. overall, the u.s. economy is in good shape. charlie rose: what is the pathway to growth? % predictedave 2.5
for this year and next year. if you think about going into the end of last year into 2015, our economists were up over 3% for this year and thinking of growth from there. it did not come true. that creates a sort of confidence that levels off. we need something that sparks people into being more optimistic and that comes from some help and stability. no issues in terms of federal budget deficit and shutdown. i think many need good core work. the recovery is getting long now. the other concern is how long this recovery last. the path to growth is investment by business and creating jobs. that will happen if people have confidence. they have pretty good confidence, but they need to be not told to be worried about things. right now, every day something pops up to worry about. charlie rose: that was the
question for several years -- confidence to spend, invest, hire. confidence that there would be a demand for the products. theeemed to underlie decisions to make capital investments. brian: if you look at consumers which drives the economy, what has been interesting if you came through the summer, the confidence waned a bit. it was still strong relatively, but it flattened out. they are still up 3% over year. it is back to 4% year over year. that is a good sign consumers are spending money. if you think about it, at one point, it was at a nominally low level. charlie rose: around 5%. brian: 270,000 for unemployment. for the percentage of workers, that is very low. the last time it was much smaller.
everything about being a consumer feels pretty good. good wages, good solid jobs and spending. i talked to clients, they are generally optimistic. but with your slowing down, china -- europe slowing down, china slowing down, they have reason to be worried. charlie rose: what about manufacturing? brian: if you look in the u.s., the capital investment which has been a debate has not been strong. a lot of that has been driven by the oil and gas industry. it went from $80 a barrel to $40 a barrel. that is good news for consumers. in our customer base -- our customers spend $90 million a day on gasoline. last year, it was $75 million a day. what is not good for one group is good for another group. the question is what group drives the activity? charlie rose: do you see lowering of ticket prices on airlines?
brian: i think the average consumer, what they spend on his gasoline at the pump and that goes down. i see it when i go fill up. that money goes back out. charlie rose: we are in a political year. what else should be debated about in the economy? democrats, republicans -- those inspiring to lead -- what ought to be the central question we should consider? brian: how do we support growth and jobs. that is supporting all businesses -- global businesses, small businesses. how do you create the atmosphere for those to be aggressive? inexpensive. the ability to borrow is there. me, that is -- to fundamental tax reform. it is thinking about immigration
in terms of making more available workers. businesses,as to be including banks and all sectors -- they also employed a lotta people to do that and they will have -- a lot of people to do that and they will have more confidence. charlie rose: more investment in things that make a difference like science, education or medicine. brian: how does america win? those are critical. america has these assets. how do we keep winning? how do we help america keep winning? secretary clinton and president obama have criticized the idea of merger between pfizer -- companies seeking to cut their tax bill by relocating in ireland is not a good thing for america? brian: if our tax rates are 20 points higher than others, it creates an incentive.
really the question is our companies are global companies. they have decisions on where to invest. where to make those products. what access to the raw materials to do it, where to do it. it is a global decision. if you are uncompetitive, they have opportunities to make decisions. the inversion -- i get more worried about the other things that are going on -- non-inversion transactions. the ceo says i will put $10 over there because i can get $.85 after taxes or $.60. they will make that decision. charlie rose: what is the effective tax rate? with corporate tax rate, it is over 30%. a lot of people say the average corporate income tax only takes into account all the deductions, tax credits, around 18% or 20% which is pretty average with the rest of the world. brian: the problem is that is an
average that has a lot of people on both sides. the people on the high side are trying to get to the low side. the tax code benefits -- the financial institution, we are cash is as cash goes. for other types of companies, depreciation or research development, there is a big incentive. they are competing against people that have the same incentive and will try to drive it down. somebody who has a tax rate of 5% or 6%, which is sometimes you can get to, it is very difficult. the question ought to be -- this is not a new concept -- i studied it years ago. can you make things simple and take incentives out of it? it is always hard. the reality is if you make it really simple, you can drive down the nominal rate because the cost of compliance is to the
actual rate paid. that is not a new concept. charlie rose: what about in terms of what happened in 2007, 2008 and s 2009? brian: the lowest moment i had -- the lowest moment i actually had, i remember walking into our new building and realizing that some big corporate names could not fund. they cannot roll commercial paper. this has now gone beyond -- it started as subprime lenders going out of business. things we forget about now. the special interest vehicles. and got into core america. it will be very difficult. it took 15 months to get into the liquidity crunch. i said this is going to be very difficult. it was not difficult in the
middle of 2007 when other stuff was going on, but this was affecting people. it was considered to be a banking crisis. it was actually in economic crisis. it got to the people that were not overleveraged. the engine of the economy cannot go so how do you get out of it? charlie rose: how does bank of america, the second largest bank, have to change? brian: we ask yourselves a lot because of you think about it bestthe time to make the decision is in the best of times. what you will do today is what you will see in the next crisis. not the last crisis what you could not do. that is an easy decision. you look at it and say we should not have all these home-equity loans. that is easy to stop it. i think that is the key issue. what can we not do now. we have to have responsible
growth. has anible growth element that says you have to grow, but do it for the right risk framers. that is the lesson we have. couple of charts that we use the build up the credit card book. build up our home-equity book. we thought we were smart then. what are the lessons? you have to do all things in moderation. you cannot being too hard on the consumer, the corporate. that is the key lesson. we became so exposed to the u.s. consumer and consumer real estate that when it went the wrong way -- you got out ofse: real estate and private equity? brian: a lot of things. we looked at are three groups of customers -- if i walked up to one of the customers and said, what do you expect from us? i want to create transaction accounts. i want you to manage my money
and give me a statement. you did not ask us to so you insurance or buy a company. we did everything the company did not want. when you thought about proprietary trading, the way we got there was to say our customers were the people who took the kind of risk -- hedge funds -- why are we competing against them? let's help them. that really simplified the business model. charlie rose: how much money did you spend and settlement of litigation -- in settlement of litigation? brian: $200 billion. it is more than settlement -- it is operating costs, other costs. five years, six years to almost now. spent $200 at -- we billion -- the book value per share of our company has grown every year. charlie rose: spending $200 billion of book value. brian: think about that, with
that kind of charge -- by the way, that was all brand-new. if you are in the middle -- we had to foreclose on homes. that is the huge damage. being responsible -- do not do -- you have to do the right thing for consumers. -- what areements the lessons we learned, if you read the customer letters during the time and how we helped them do it. we cannot do that to customers. charlie rose: when you made decisions about litigation, did you say you want to get past this? we need to put this behind us and end as quickly as we can. brian: we make decisions on a wrist basis for the company. -- risk basis for the company. our general counsel and our team
spent billions of dollars on external legal fees. you make a risk assessment. a lot of times, you could win, but what would happen between here and there? if you had 25 u.s. attorneys that are willing to fight through that, you say maybe you will win at the end. the question was what if you did not? you are making a risk assessment. that was one thing. the second thing was the cost of going through it. we had one case in particular that had to deal with one of the transactions. the cost of trying the case was probably $300 million. the first was free in that context. i was going to pay that even if i won. the settlement was $2 billion and went to the shareholders as a payment. it is a risk assessment and cost assessment and time assessment. we went to court.
but, other ones -- in the real estate sector, you have real estate risk. if the losses were this much, what with a c three years later after the finish of the litigation? one of the interesting questions we try to put on all the real estate exposure we had when buying insurance, tell me it will not go down on value. we could not find anyone that would sell us the option. charlie rose: no one? brian: not even my friend mr. buffett could sell us that. charlie rose: there is also opportunity loss. you want to focus on running the company and creating a growth model. you don't want to be fighting all the time. you want to do what is right, but the opportunities of the future, not the past. brian: it is a brand risk. the last time we were together was 2.5 years ago. if you think about the 30
months, we have made $25 billion. we have settled all the stuff. our brand is probably 10 points better than it was then because all of this went away. people are seeing the good company we have. right, there is an opportunity cost. , which is not quite estimable. some ceo's call me and ask how did you think through this? you have to think about all these factors. the shareholders and the lawyers that tell you you will win, but what if you don't? we finished up the litigation last year. we have made a total of $60 billion since then which is the second-highest in the history of the company. charlie rose: it is interesting when you talk about the brand.
how important to you, as the second largest bank in the united states, is this brand? how do you measure that? brian: if you think about it, we have consumers and wealthy customers and then we have business clients and investors. we measured in all different ways. we survey our customers continuously. not just do they like it. is there problem resolution? we surveyed the branch. do you like the branch experience, the mobile experience? you are always using it to gain insight to figure out if you are on a good trend. the lowest point was in the fall of 2009. we have recovered. does that mean people buy more? no, it means they are willing to listen to you. now you have to give them good products and services. without them thinking you are a good company, it is tough. you have the trust factor.
the test is pretty simple -- the moment of truth in anything is due their customers tell their friends? charlie rose: the business model of the bank of america today -- whath carolina, i know h happened in the growth. there was a lot of acquisitions. by bank that grew acquisitions first in north carolina, the south and then nationally. is the business model now today not about acquisitions, but about -- brian: since 2007, we have been prohibited from doing any more acquisitions. the law of the land is you have more than 10%, you cannot make acquisitions. not only is it not about acquisitions because of a host of reasons, it is because i don't want to buy. -- you can trace
their lineage back, there are a lot of tributaries. you have this great river going on now. what you have now is completely different. they ran different companies then i run now -- than i run now. they had to figure out the question if i have to be here. i don't. we will be here. how big ofigure out a size day in and day out. and keep the risk parameters right. that comes back. we had to make that as a company which is a pivot from cleaning up the legacy to responsible growth. how we have to grow, we have to do it for the right risk. if you grow too fast, every financial institution will find that. at j.p.rose: jamie morgan is very clear. he would not have done bear stearns in retrospect.
is it very clear he would not have done merrill lynch in retrospect? brian: merrill lynch was different. they had a tremendous capability. $20issue was the came with billion in less cap and it caused delusion. from a shareholders basis, we had fewer shares. we are still working through that. charlie rose: you still believe in the idea of the universal bank? brian: absolutely, because that is what the customers demand of us. if you go to a middle-market client in charlotte or san francisco or new york, the business is globalized. they have factories around the world. they are buying resources around the world. if you think about that client, they have to have a bank that can help them figure that out. our business of corporate investment banking or
middle-market banking is a absolutely global business. it involves trading capabilities to help them hedge and ultimately global capabilities. that models what they want. billions of dollars of extra revenue for us to have these after pieces together. that does not mean it will be the biggest trading company in the world. we try to keep that in balance. the team of trading operations for us keeps it one third of our size. that works for us. we are big enough for the clients, but small enough that we cannot push the company around. charlie rose: what it have been a bit larger in an earlier time? brian: if you think about the balance sheet, there is an easy way to measure that. in 2000, that balance sheet was probably $900 billion and it is now $600 billion. bank of america 10 years ago was $500 billion.
about leadership. the political world is very different than the corporate. yet, there are certain things that would serve both. brian: i think it comes down to people. you need mixes of people and people that have great ideas and influence. whether it is the president or the mayor -- charlie rose: the defense department. brian: in the second element, you need people that are trying to drive to a common purpose and that is where politics have been problematic because people are driving to a different purpose. at some point, we have to agree. in a company, that is easy to do because we are not running campaigns and i can choose them. when you asked me about the darkest days of the crisis -- what i would always come back and say is what people miss us if we were not here? why do we go to work everyday? you are serving the customers and the clients.
that get you motivated. no matter what is going on and the litigation, you have to say why do i come to work? that is tough in a political context to unify over a purpose. that is the toughest part. what has been interesting is i have worked in business around the world thinking about how we help employment? even groups in the united states doing it. charlie rose: youth unemployment. brian: getting more youth employed. we all gravitate to one thing -- they actually have more executive power to cause things to happen. it is not a statement of aptitude or ability. their job allows them for things to happen. in other places, it is policymaking. charlie rose: it is all where where the road meets the ground. brian: in some places, you don't
have the power to pick the people and the process and stuff. i think leadership is a lot of it in a ceo. there are differences because of the structures. the common thing is can you get things done in a day? it is incumbent upon whatever job you have. charlie rose: why should a ceo and the chair should be the same person? a person that drives the governance process, meets the regulators, the shareholders. he does a lot what people think a chairman does. it is a normal thing. our company normalized. our company made a decision to have a chairman that is leading. they didn't make a decision to join back together. we made the process. the key is to we govern ourselves well? as we think about being responsible as a company and growing, one of the elements is
having a sustainable business model. that means corporate responsibility, what we do in the environment -- it all drives into that. jack helps us drive that. charlie rose: what does that have to do with the ceo being chairman of the board? brian: it is representing the company in the public side and clients. charlie rose: you said we have an independent working on the board. you understand the argument that in today's complex businesses and diversity, some people elected not to have you. you kept both jobs. brian: we have had both. in our company, the governance process -- we have 13 board members and i am one of them. the other 12 are independent of the company. we hired, basically, two thirds of them have come on in the last several years. very independent group. very different skill sets.
charlie rose: these are not your best friends. brian: the key is to have people with a variety of experience. we have people that have public auditing experience. people have -- arnold runs carnival. we have another person that worked at pepsi. we have ethnicity background and gender. what a ceo looks to a board for is perspective. help me think through a problem. the board has to govern. with all my net worth in the company -- i want charlie rose: how is banking changing because of the rise of online transactions? brian: i had a great story come up the other day.
i got an e-mail from the branch manager. he said you've got to see this story. we have 18 million bank customers. what it shows is that the utility of the capabilities embedded in the phone, is just there. a 100 and one-year-old person signing up for mobile banking. company is tog deal with the so-called disruptors and a scale of it is the unbelievable thing. we just put in a and at that could take a picture of a check. what is that mean?
they didn't have to drive to a branch, didn't have to drive to an atm. they could do it from the house. it keeps going up. the rate of growth will be declined by the decline in checks. if you think about her mobile sitting on the money of the depositing of checks is equal to about 700 branches. it's like the 20th largest bank in the country. but it wasn't here three years ago. what is driving that? it is the consumers. older people are doing what 18 to 25-year-old people were doing with the mobile phone a few
years ago. my parents have smartphones. their 65thjust had wedding anniversary. when you're the ceo of a large bank, euro is a little nervous when 80-year-old and walks up to and says i bank with you. she said could you teacher had use the mobile stuff? she said it was wonderful. that cohort is just becoming more adept at online banking. it will shape the industry in major ways. we have probably $700 million in global technology over the last five years.
when we simply by the company, we know exactly what the regulations are going to be. it was 2010 we started this. the script wasn't quite written yet. the we have a sense of where they were going? yes we did. what customers want us to do will be consistent throughout that regulation. you hear a lot of people the trading area saying what he used to do this. these are the rules and go optimize the consumer experience. it was a huge opportunity for us. areas, the cost of doing this comes high enough that for people with that scale like we do, we could win market share with this. have the $900e we
million per year to spend on systems development. we have the expertise. we spend a lot of money on our number one research platform. growth ifnstrain your you whine about the stuff used to do. the rules, drive to where you can gain market share. it really doesn't restrict us now. rose: let's talk about cyber security. brian: if people lose confidence in that mobile phone app, just think of what would happen. i would have to put up 700 new branches. we just have the capacity. we got to the -- keep people confident that the mobile activity is safe.
we've got a be as safe as the old bolts in the bank -- vaults in the bank. we just have to be absolutely vigilant on outside attacks but also inside attacks. employees doing stupid things exposing the company. we call it hygiene. you got to not use a thumb drive. that group is spending the money to protect us. interstate -- it gets interesting out there. looking at the global economy, are you concerned about china?
brian: we have a lot of experts. they think china has slowed down. they had gotten to the size now we are six or 7% growth is not enough. the core question about industrializing and urbanizing, it may be up and down but it will keep moving forward. the people are spending. that is causing some adjustments. our people are relatively sanguine on it. as the thing gets bigger, it is just growth. the banking system there, they have the shadow banking. the issue with shadow banking,
those of us who are sort of core banks, commercial banks, the people he got in trouble with people that didn't have the funding structure and the regulation. i am a little concerned that the activities have migrated to other parts of the institution. activityt control the that we are able to stabilize it. to make a mortgage loan, you've got to be subject to the same rules, no matter what kind of bank you are. they did a lot of that it is creeping away from them. just because something is small doesn't mean that there is not a risk to it. charlie rose: did the training of a lawyer help you?
charlie rose: charlie savage is here. he is a pulitzer prize-winning reporter. his latest book is called power wars, inside the obama administration's counterterrorism activities. i am pleased to have him at this table. savage: it is a book about the obama administrations work on terrorism. he is one of the most lawyer like presidents we've ever had. lawyers.surrounded by they've a certain way of looking at the world. as a way of breaking down problems. their deliberations about these dilemmas in the post-9/11 world are the focus of this book.
more than 100 and 50 eight administration officials. i gained access to many documents that are not public. is essentially an investigative history of how the obama administration came into office thinking that they were going to do one thing and then found that the world as it was was not always cooperative. they came in as tremendous critics of the bush administration. they were going to close guantanamo bay, they were going to fix the war on terror, they were going to not have a global war on terror. things were much more complicated than they thought on one level. there are many people are quintana mo that could not be released and yet they could not be prosecuted either. materialtatutes about
assistance to terrorism did not apply to them until later. also have a, they certain idea of how to fix the war on terror. one of the great disconnects. obama came in as a liberal law professor who was going to change the war on terror and he ended up acting quite a lot like george w. bush. he kept indefinite detention. he used jerome strikes and a massive surveillance program. he went beyond bush in certain ways. obama is certainly no dove. how did we get here? what happened? what arises from all the stories is that in retrospect, we can see something that was not as
clear during the bush years. there were two very different strands of criticism of what bush was doing and cheney was doing. there was a rule of law critique and a civil liberties critique. the civil liberties people said that these activities were inherently wrong. military commissions were wrong. the rule of law is more agnostic on this. instead on can the president disobey the law? maybe that law doesn't make sense anymore but the president needs to go to congress get a change. he can't just say that i'm the commander in chief and i'm going to blow through it. in retrospect the obama people critique whatis the problem was.
the one thing can be fixed. late in bush's second term they pass laws like the military commissions act of the fisa amendments so that by the time obama takes office at least with this lawyers mindset, the problem had largely been solved. and so they said we are not acting like bush. but we have the legal backing. but groups like the merrick and civil liberties union -- american civil liberties union still objected. we thought we knew that what there was to know about the bin laden raid. there was this whole other elements another dimension to it that was not told.
remainsa bin laden raid -- raised all these issues. can you violate pakistani sovereignty? we have used force in countries where there is no functioning government. the tribal area of pakistan is kind of like that. yemen, somalia. these are not normal countries. one of the great controversies is that the bush administration that the wartion follows our enemies when they go to these places.
it seems to me that the toistani has granted consent strikes within a certain area. a harder case might be somalia which doesn't even have a functioning government. certainly the pakistanis were not granting us the access to the area where bin laden was. lawyers were asking can it be a kill mission rather than a capture mission? it was definitely a kill mission. the question was when is that legal and under what conditions. the great exception is that even if someone surrenders and it is feasible to accept that surrender, you can just shoot them. but it is ok and war to go in
trying to kill your enemies. the national security lawyer was the only one who would been read in on the secret because the obama administration was desperate to not let this leak. of 2011.ring the shift was what do we do about it. the top two uniformed and civilian lawyers at the pentagon . these four lawyers with the only ones who knew about this policy. they are working through all this issues. can we bomb the compound? how much collateral damage to the civilian bystanders is acceptable? given the military value of getting him. obama came with certain reform ideas and then he saw the hard reality.
charlie savage: he came in with the rule of law mindset. he accepted, which some on the left do not accept, that this was war. qaeda was a with al real conflict that triggered these rule of law issues. it is ambiguous in these 21st century situations. but he wanted to wind things down. he wanted things ratcheted back and normalized. the underwear bombing attack happened. 2009, a terrorist from nigeria almost went down a plane over detroit.
it was shear luck that the bomb didn't go off. it had nothing to do with our defenses. it's just that the terrorists failed. the portal fallout, which includes scott brown winning the senate seat in massachusetts, suggested that if there was an attack that succeeded obama would be a failed one term president. he would not be able to do any of the things you want to do, beyond national security. healthy reform. care reform. everything was now 180 degrees different. they had an ambivalent first year. shifted and they ke
much more of a hard line. we are going to do whatever it takes to prevent that from happening. the balance between security and freedom. for officehat ran sounded very different from the obama who is president. the epigraph at the front of my book captures that. obama in 2007 as a senator is giving a big national security and he denounces the bush administration for promoting a false choice between security and our ideals. in 2013 after edward snowden reveals that the nsa had been keeping records on domestic phone calls, a program that
this decided to keep, comes out because of the snowden leak. he says we have to make choices in society. can't have a hundred percent privacy and a hundred percent security. it is all most like he is talking to himself six years earlier. either that was political or that was naive. rose: we will find that when he writes his memoir after he leaves. charlie savage: his lawyerly thinking is one of the things that is the key to understanding him.
there other ways in which that is played out in his government. if you think about how lawyers are trained to think. incremental, they really have to grapple with the best arguments of the other side and be prepared to rebut them. they have a rigorous preparation process. that is so different from how george w. bush and dick cheney redhaired ministration. they were ceos. they were deciders. the lawyerly mindset is to really engage with what can go wrong. what is the possible second or third order of consequences. areics would say, you dithering. what you just do what you're going to do? obama keeps going back to it. rose: one difference is
that this government is more likely be looking at all the alternatives. bush and cheney knew what they wanted to do and did want to hear alternatives. savage: that is a harsh way of putting it. decided bush people they needed to go into iraq and we needed to have military commissions, they just did it by fiat. in the first term especially. they did not seek normal legal justifications. they didn't even run the normal track of the executive bureaucratic process. rose: they were very they hado make sure
what they thought was legal justification. torlie savage: he wanted make sure they had a memo from a lawyer saying that they could do this. is the formal justification. the justice department has to check the box. but is what is written in this memo what most legal scholars would understand as something of the mainstream of legal thought would recognize. charlie rose: they would say we worry about thinking we had and then to do things get prosecuted. charlie savage: the justice department cannot prosecute someone for saying something or doing something that the justice department said was legal.
jack goldsmith started pulling back those memos. that is just one element of the legal process. there is tremendous adherence to process. they signed off on military commissions. only later does the national security advisor find out what is happening. it was very hard to dislodge the new status quo that bush had created. should we release this particular guantanamo detainee? that is one of the ways in which you have these two in administrations are so different in mindset, ironically having
♪ good evening from washington, d.c. today we watched the entire gop field speak at the ronald reagan building down the street from where i am here in our washington bureau. i had a chance to sit down with two of the candidates, john kasich and carly fiorina. before we get to that, an update on the dominant story in this country and in politics today. that remains wednesday's shooting in san bernardino, california. there is smo