A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from January 24, 2009
Mother Merrill (Merrill Lynch nickname)

The Merrill Lynch brokerage firm was affectionately called “Mother Merrill” by its employees. “Mother” Merrill Lynch trained its brokers and treated them well, frowning on any broker who moved to a rival firm. “Mother Merrill” is cited in print from at least 1972; in the 1990s, the nickname “Mother Merrill” became widely used in the financial press.

In 2008-2009, Merrill Lynch was acquired by Bank of America (nicknamed “the big bank"). Many articles have stated that “Mother Merrill” is no more.

Wikipedia: Merrill Lynch
Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. was a global financial services firm which was acquired by Bank of America. This article describes both the historical Merrill Lynch and its ongoing operations as a subsidiary of the bank. Merrill Lynch provides capital markets services, investment banking and advisory services, wealth management, asset management, insurance, banking and related financial services worldwide. Merrill Lynch is headquartered in New York City, and occupies the entire 34 stories of the Four World Financial Center building in Manhattan. On September 14, 2008 Bank of America announced its intention to acquire Merrill Lynch for Bank of America common stock. Under the terms of the agreement Merrill Lynch shareholders receive 0.8595 shares of Bank of America stock. Shareholders of both companies approved the acquisition on December 5, 2008 which took effect January 1, 2009.

21 May 1972, New York (NY) Times, “Why Merrill Lynch Is Bullish About Merrill Lynch” by Murray Teigh Bloom, pg. SM26:
Once or twice a year he’s offered seemingly better-paid, fancier-titled jobs, but after 17 years with Mother Merrill he’s able to reject them with a smile.

17 July 1994, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Merrill Lynch Bearish on Departures,” business section, pg. 8:
“Mother Merrill,” as the brokerage is known on Wall Street, has never taken kindly to losing brokers it recruited and trained to other securities firms.

20 March 1999, New York (NY) TImes, “The Merrill Steamroller Encounters Potholes” by Joseph Kahn, pg. C1:
Juggernaut. Steamroller. Mother Merrill. Those are the nicknames most commonly associated with Merrill Lynch & Company, a brokerage firm that long ago decided that it wanted to be No. 1, or very close to it, in everything Wall Street does.

1 December 1998, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Merrill Lynch ads set lofty standard,” by Stanley Marcus:
The many individuals who got their start there refer to it affectionately as “Mother Merrill.”

5 January 2003, New York (NY) Times, “Have Merrill’s Bulls Been Led to Pasture?” by Landon Thomas Jr., pg. BU10:
For all of them, starting with Mr. O’Neal, the idea of Mother Merrill as a nuturing bureaucratic womb is dead, according to top bankers at the firm.

New York (NY) Times
Whatever Happened to Mother Merrill?
Published: August 3, 2003
THOMAS H. PATRICK Sr., who abruptly departed as Merrill Lynch’s executive vice chairman last week, mastered many banking arts during his quarter-century career.

New York (NY) Times
Dismantling a Wall Street Club
Published: November 2, 2003
THE chief executive of Merrill Lynch, E. Stanley O’Neal, has never been big on clubs. To Mr. O’Neal, who grew up poor in a small Alabama town as a grandson of a slave, clubs symbolized one thing: exclusion.
A great bear of a man, Mr. Komansky has a backslapping and gregarious nature, symbolizing both the cozy embrace of Mother Merrill, as the bank had come to be known, and the insider ties that made the Big Board hum under Mr. Grasso.

For Mr. O’Neal, Merrill Lynch, like the New York Stock Exchange, was too clubby for his tastes.

‘’It goes back to Mother Merrill,’’ Mr. O’Neal said in an interview last week, sitting in an armchair in his corner office, which Mr. Komansky formerly occupied. ‘’People interpret it in different ways. I interpret it as a club. If you are part of the club, we take care of you. But this is a 47,000-person organization, and not everyone can be part of that club.’’

Leaning forward in his chair, his deep voice rising a few notes, he added, ‘’I think clubs have their place, but not in modern commerce.’’

Google Books
Demystifying Wall Street:
Shedding a Little Light on the Bull!

By Bruce Fleet
Published by AuthorHouse
Pg. 48:
An example of this culture is Merrill Lynch. Most everyone I know who has spent any time working with Merrill refers to the firm as “Mother Merrill.” THis is due in part to the fact that Merrill has a way of “gently” persuading its employees that Merrill is the only real “way.” Sounds a bit cultish doesn’t it? Merrill has convinced its brokers that if they were to leave the firm, no client would ever follow the broker to their new firm because the clients are really clients of Merrill, not the broker.

Nov 21st, 2007, 10:06 PM
Why is Merrill Lynch called “Mother Merrill”?
I couldn’t find a source explaining this, anyone?

Auction-Rate Securities
Nice Try, Mother Merrill

Liz Moyer, 08.12.08, 6:00 AM ET
Last August, Nashville, Tenn.-based investor Dan Daley got nervous about the volatile stock market and instructed his Merrill Lynch broker to move $200,000 of cashed-out stock investments and other cash to a safe place to ride out the storm.

North Denver News
Mother Merrill troubles Bank of America
Written by VOA
Friday, 16 January 2009
When Bank of America swallowed up the investment bank and brokerage Merrill Lynch, known for generations on Wall Street as Mother Merrill, it acquired a massive case of indigestion. The deal, husbanded by the Fed and Treasury, sought to prevent a calamity like the one that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

New York (NY) Post
January 23, 2009
The shotgun marriage of Merrill Lynch’s John Thain and Bank of America’s Ken Lewis already has ended in divorce.
After slashing costs at NYSE, Thain landed at Merrill in 2007, replacing the disgraced Stanley O’Neal.

Early on at Merrill, Thain earned the trust of high-profile execs who hoped that he’d be able to restore the familiar culture that earned Merrill the reputation among investment banks as “Mother Merrill.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Saturday, January 24, 2009 • Permalink