The Savior of Countrywide?

Kenneth Lewis brought calm to the rattled financial industry by agreeing to take over Countrywide. But he doesn't want to save banking — just dominate it

Najlah Feanny / Corbis

Kenneth Lewis

In an industry built on big talk and swagger, Bank of America's Kenneth Lewis is an anomaly. "I don't feel the need to be a dominant force through talking first or talking the most. That's not one of my needs," he tells me in an interview at the North Carolina bank's office in midtown Manhattan. "Listening can be a competitive advantage. Some people just can't do it."

Lewis looks out over the expanse of Central Park — a panoramic view he calls the most beautiful in the world — and describes the last time...

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