What Warren Buffett Didn't Say about Bank of America's Dividend Blunder

As a major stakeholder in Bank of America, Warren Buffett should have his views on the bank taken seriously.

May 12, 2014 at 9:00AM

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Two weekends ago, as he does every year, Warren Buffett held court at the annual Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B) shareholder meeting. Of particular interest to shareholders: What did the Oracle of Omaha think of Bank of America's (NYSE:BAC) latest blunder?

"That error they made does not bother me," Buffett said, referring to the bank's revelation last week that it had incorrectly accounted for financial assets inherited in its 2009 acquisition of Merrill Lynch. "You do the best you can."

Buffett's empathy is understandable. As he told CNBC's Becky Quick, "It did not affect the GAAP net worth, the GAAP earnings, or anything of that sort." Additionally, Buffett himself was confronted with an analogous issue during his brief time as Chairman of Salomon Brothers in the early 1990s.

Even more than this, however, is the simple but unspoken fact that Buffett's considerable investment in Bank of America isn't affected by the decision. Berkshire's preferred shares will continue to yield 6%. And, if anything, as Motley Fool contributor John Maxfield discusses in the following video, its warrants to purchase 700 million shares of the bank will only be a benefit, as retained earnings are considerably more accretive to future stock price than distributing the income to current shareholders.

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John Maxfield has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Bank of America and Berkshire Hathaway. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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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