To the shock and horror of its millions of customers worldwide, Bank of America filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy after President and CEO Brian Moynihan signed a blank check for an innocent-looking eight-year-old girl named Katrina Darling.
A mortified Moynihan explained to the bank's Board of Directors that the little girl had come into the bank and knocked on the door of Moynihan's office, asking if he could possibly give her $20 to buy groceries for her and her mom, who was confined to a wheelchair. Moynihan told Katrina that although he did not have any cash on him, he would be happy to write her a check. His biggest gaffe came when Katrina suggested that he endorse the check without filling in the monetary amount.
Moynihan told the bank's Board of Directors, "She said she wanted to be a banker when she grew up, so that she could write her own checks. She was so enthusiastic that I offered to let her write in the amount on this check. I told her exactly what to do, and it was so cute, she took about 15 minutes to write in the numbers, she was doing it so carefully."
Moynihan ultimately confessed what some of his colleagues reportedly already suspected: he never double-checked the amount on the check. And several days after Moynihan's interaction with Katrina, Bank of America learned that its checking account was significantly overdrawn. In fact, $2.129 trillion had been deducted from the bank's account - almost precisely the value of the bank's total assets.
"That's no coincidence, I'm sure," Moynihan later opined. "Clearly this girl and her mom had been planning this thing for awhile. It's even occurred to me, who knows if the mom's really in a wheelchair?"
While Moynihan did attempt to cancel the check, it had unfortunately already cleared, leaving bankruptcy as the bank's only viable option. Moynihan accepted full responsibility for the downturn in the bank's financial position and even offered to resign his post, telling his colleagues, "Honestly, I don't know if I'm cut out for this CEO stuff. I'm too trusting."
However, the bank refused to accept Moynihan's resignation.
"Brian made a mistake," stated CFO Brian Thompson at a press conference raucous with distressed investors. "But he was doing what he thought was the right thing at the time, and we're going to stand by him."
"And I'm going to make it up to you guys," interjected the obviously emotional Moynihan. "I promise!"