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Opinion

BOA crab cake: Catching an acronym crab

A visit to the executive dining floor at Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Bryant Park headquarters in Manhattan is always a pleasure.



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Just as the investment bank proudly offers nearly every product to a potential client, a dining guest can expect a full range of menu options, including vegetarian and gluten free, though the presence of a burger with fries always tempts the taste buds of a hungry hack.

But what’s this new item we spotted on our most recent lunch engagement there? The ‘BOA crab cake’. 

We quickly asked our hosts: “Is this a Bank of America crab cake?” They weren’t sure. We asked the waitress, but she had to go and check. 

In the meantime, the conversation took a turn for the worse. If BOA stands for Bank of America crab cakes, shouldn’t it actually be BofA crab cakes? After all, the firm still rails against those who lazily shorten its investment bank to BAML, insisting that BofAML is the acronym of choice, even if that’s not a true acronym because it contains the word ‘of’ – which in itself seems a strange word to highlight in a firm’s name that includes such important words as Bank, America, Merrill and Lynch.

But it did not stop there. If it is Bank of America, shouldn’t it really be BAC – shorthand for Bank of America Corporation? And why crab cakes? Could it be that BOA (or is it BofA or BAC?) chairman and chief executive Brian Moynihan is a Bostonian, and Boston is quite well known for its crab cakes? Or was it more personal? Was it an old family recipe – perhaps ‘Brian’s Old Aunt’s crab cakes’?

As the dish was served (we had to have it after all of that), the truth was revealed – our first guess was right. There was a clue, you see, in the fact that the cakes were served with green blinis. And nothing signifies BOA/BofA/BAC’s defining commitment to the environment better than green blinis. Obviously! 

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