The Global Transaction Services (GTS) business at Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) Merrill Lynch has published its annual report on the North American market, entitled “North America Perspectives.”

The report, which appears in leading industry publication Treasury Management International (TMI), includes a series of articles looking at the economic growth outlook for 2015 and how the relationship between banks and corporate treasurers is changing. Its publication follows the release of BofA Merrill’s 2015 CFO Outlook, in which over half of those corporate treasurers surveyed expected the North American economy to grow in the next year.

“For the past seven years, banks and corporations have been cautiously navigating their way through a transaction banking paradigm shift, towards a future in which the quality of a banking relationship counts as much as its size,” said Ather Williams, head of GTS at BofA Merrill. “As banks like ours invest in building the technology, expertise and global reach required to help corporations grow, we are finding ourselves gradually moving towards greater integration of banking services. Underpinning this cooperative way of working is a revolution in technology.”

“North America Perspectives,” which is available to BofA Merrill clients and through TMI, features articles on the following topics:

  • Companies look to 2015 with cautious optimism.
  • Mattel – a case study on making working capital optimization children’s play.
  • Why growth entails owning your own cash position.
  • Transforming treasury: planning for the future.
  • The relationship between banks and their clients under new regulations.
  • Creating an effective treasury in Latin America.

The report’s leading article, “Companies Look to 2015 with Cautious Optimism,” discusses the optimistic outlook for the macro-economic and business environment in 2015. Signs of sustainable growth and increased confidence are reflected in corporate activity, and many companies are ready to pursue new growth strategies this year. In the treasury space, there is a continuing focus on streamlining treasury opportunities, including a drive to rework treasury structures and increase automation in payments.

“Mattel – Making Working Capital Optimization Kids’ Play” explores how the world-class initiative from Mattel – the largest global designer, manufacturer and marketer of toys – is improving its working capital optimization by shortening the gap between its days sales outstanding and days payable outstanding cash flow forecasts.

In the article “Growth Entails Owning Your Cash Position,” BofA Merrill explains that the return in confidence about the U.S. economy necessitates a renewed focus on visibility, control and optimization of cash for treasury. The ever-changing geopolitical dynamic and evolving implications of regulation mean that treasury needs to reassess its structures, processes and people.

“Transforming Treasury: Planning for the Future” details how the heightened focus on board-level visibility and need for transparency of cash forces treasurers to address the overall role they and their department play in organizations, and encourage them to assume a more influential position within their business.

“Moving Forward Together” addresses the significant shift in the relationship between banks and their clients. With the impact of regulatory change becoming clearer, and though the changing environment is likely to result in higher costs for some, corporate and financial institutional clients are placing more value than ever on the quality of their banking relationships.

The report’s “Creating an Effective Treasury in Latin America” explains that U.S. middle-market companies are implementing new growth strategies overseas due to their renewed optimism for growth. For these companies, Latin America has emerged as the preferred location for manufacturers, which reflects the perceived stable macro-economic and political outlook of many countries in that region. Understanding and recognizing the cultural differences of the area are essential if treasury is to achieve its true objectives.

“Relationships form the bedrock of all we do at Bank of America Merrill Lynch,” said Williams. “North America, the home of our institution, is no less affected as the global economy undergoes significant change and the regulatory landscape continues to shift. Corporations have to respond, and many do so by expanding overseas. The value we put on our relationships and our global reach means we can adapt to these changes and with the help of TMI, this report looks to showcase how we do this, day-in, day-out.”(Original Source)

Shares of Bank of America opened today at $17.36 and are currently trading up at $17.4014. BAC has a 1-year high of $18.21 and a 1-year low of $14.84. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $16.79 and its 200-day moving average is $16.33.

On the ratings front, Bank of America has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on June 17, Oppenheimer analyst Chris Kotowski maintained a Buy rating on BAC, with a price target of $21, which represents a potential upside of 21.0% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on June 10, Portales Partners LLC’s Charles Peabody downgraded the stock to Sell .

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Chris Kotowski and Charles Peabody have a total average return of 3.9% and 6.5% respectively. Kotowski has a success rate of 69.2% and is ranked #704 out of 3638 analysts, while Peabody has a success rate of 66.7% and is ranked #2388.

The street is mostly Bullish on BAC stock. Out of 6 analysts who cover the stock, 4 suggest a Buy rating and 2 recommend to Hold the stock. The 12-month average price target assigned to the stock is $18.90, which represents a potential upside of 8.9% from where the stock is currently trading.