Obama Stadium Speech Puts Bank Battle in Spotlight


Officials with the Democratic National Convention, the Obama campaign and Bank of America dismiss the idea of any awkwardness or lingering tension between the administration and the bank, something sometimes assumed in the wake of sweeping Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform law.

They add that none of those issues will steal the spotlight during Obama's acceptance speech Thursday night.

"That record [on financial reform] and the president's policies are not impacted by what sign hangs on a stadium," said DNC spokeswoman Melanie Roussell.

"By holding the final night of our convention at Bank of America stadium, tens of thousands more Americans will be able to attend and be engaged in our convention," she said. "That stands in stark contrast to the Republican convention in Tampa, where there were no opportunities for the public to attend convention proceedings."

The association of Obama with Bank of America could also prove to be an opportunity for the president to bask -- even if indirectly -- in his success at wrangling with the big banks.

His administration succeeded at imposing new financial regulations on Wall Street and establishing a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, not to mention that Obama's intervention on the debit card fee issue, in part, forced Bank of America to reverse course.

Meanwhile, the bank has appeared to thrive. Its stock price -- one measure of financial health -- has rebounded from a low of $3.14 in March 2009 to $8.23 today. Bank of America also reported $2.1 billion profit in the second quarter of 2012, even as the mortgage crisis continues to be a drag.

Bank officials say they welcome the extra attention to their brand thanks to Obama's stadium speech. "That's why you buy naming rights to a stadium," one official said.

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