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Margin Lending Program

Do you need to access immediate liquidity?

A Margin Lending Account (margin), offered through Merrill, allows you to borrow funds for general cash flow needs, such as paying taxes or making home improvements as well as for the purpose of buying additional securities. Margin offers you a convenient source of liquidity with competitive rates to meet your personal or business financing needs.


The Margin Lending Account is part of a broader suite of cash management services available through a Cash Management Account (CMA). A CMA offers the convenience and flexibility of cash management services (including check writing, Bank of America credit cards and debit cards) combined with a Merrill investment account. Margin borrowing is not for everyone. Learn more below about margin lending, including the potential advantages and risks.


If you aren't planning on using a Margin Lending Account to buy securities, you may want to consider the Loan Management Account® (LMA® account), offered through Bank of America, N.A. instead to help meet your cash flow needs. With an LMA account, you can have access to cash, consolidate any other outstanding loans if desired and gain a clearer picture of your balance sheet.


How to use margin

Margin can help you with funding for:

Short-term borrowing

  • Unexpected expenses
  • Home improvements
  • Education, tuition costs
  • Business finances (for example, start-up costs and cash flow management)
  • Debt or tax payments

Investment financing

  • Timely market investments
  • Diversification
  • Stock option financing
  • Short sales

Overdraft protection

  • Visa® card transactions
  • Check transactions
  • Bill pay transactions

Flexibility without disrupting your investment strategy

Borrowing against your assets rather than selling them can help you keep your investment strategy on track and defer any capital gains taxes that might result from selling securities to meet your short-term cash needs. There is no set repayment schedule, as long as you maintain the required level of equity in your account.


Understand the risks of margin

Some of these risks include:


  • You can lose more funds than you deposit in the margin account.
  • To maintain the required equity should the securities in your margin account decline in value, we can force the sale of securities in your account and we can sell your securities or other assets without contacting you.
  • You are not entitled to choose which securities or other assets in your account(s) are liquidated or sold to meet a margin call.
  • You are not entitled to an extension of time on a margin call.
  • We can increase the maintenance margin requirements at any time and are not required to provide you with advance written notice.


Talk to your Merrill financial advisor to discuss whether a Margin Lending Program might be appropriate for you


3 questions to ask your advisor:

  • How can I plan for unexpected expenses?
  • How can I finance timely investments in the market?
  • How can I add overdraft protection to my accounts?

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When you purchase securities, you may pay for the securities in full, or if your account has been established as a margin account with the margin lending program, you may borrow part of the purchase price from Merrill. If you choose to borrow funds for your purchase, Merrill's collateral for the loan will be the securities purchased, other assets in your margin account, and your assets in any other accounts at Merrill. If the securities in your margin account decline in value, so does the value of the collateral supporting your loan, and, as a result, we can take action, such as to issue a margin call and/or sell securities in any of your accounts held with us, in order to maintain the required equity in your account. If your account has a Visa® card and/or checks, you may also create a margin debit if your withdrawals (by Visa card, checks, preauthorized debits, FTS or other transfers) exceed the sum of any available free credit balances plus available money account balances (such as Bank of America bank deposit balances or money market funds). Please refer to your account documents for more information.


Before opening a margin account, you should carefully review the terms governing margin loans. For Individual Investor Accounts, these terms are contained in the Margin Lending Program Client Agreement. For all other accounts, the terms are in your account agreement and disclosures. It is important that you fully understand the risks involved in using margin. These risks including the following:


  • You can lose more funds than you deposit in the margin account. A decline in the value of securities that are purchased on margin may require you to provide additional funds to us to avoid the forced sale of those securities or other securities in your account(s).
  • We can force the sale of securities in your account(s). If the equity in your account falls below the maintenance margin requirements or Merrill's higher "house" requirements, we can sell the securities in any of your accounts held by us to cover the margin deficiency. You also will be responsible for any shortfall in the account after such as sale.
  • We can sell your securities without contacting you. Some investors mistakenly believe that they must be contacted for a margin call to be valid, and that securities in their accounts cannot be liquidated to meet the call unless they are contacted first. This is not the case. We will attempt to notify you of margin calls, but we are not required to do so. Even if we have contacted you and provided a specific date by which you can meet a margin call, we can still take necessary steps to protect our financial interests, including immediately selling the securities without notice to you.
  • You are not entitled to choose which securities in your account(s) are liquidated or sold to meet a margin call. Because the securities are collateral for the margin loan, we have the right to decide which security to sell in order to protect our interests.
  • We can increase our "house" maintenance margin requirements at any time and are not required to provide you advance written notice. These changes in our policy may take effect immediately and may result in the issuance of a maintenance margin call. Your failure to satisfy the call may cause us to liquidate or sell securities in your account(s).
  • You are not entitled to an extension of time on a margin call. While an extension of time to meet margin requirements may be available to you under certain conditions, you do not have a right to the extension.


If you have any questions or concerns about margin and the margin lending program, please contact your Merrill financial advisor.

Securities-based financing involves special risks. You should review the LMA Loan Agreement and related documents and disclosures carefully and consult with your own independent tax and legal advisors.


The Loan Management Account (LMA account) is a demand line of credit provided by Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC. Equal Opportunity Lender. The LMA account requires a brokerage account at Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated and sufficient eligible collateral to support a minimum credit facility size of $100,000. All securities are subject to credit approval and Bank of America, N.A. may change its collateral maintenance requirements at any time. Securities-based financing involves special risks and is not for everyone. When considering a securities-based loan, consideration should be given to individual requirements, portfolio composition and risk tolerance, as well as capital gains, portfolio performance expectations and investment time horizon. The securities or other assets in any collateral account may be sold to meet a collateral call without notice to the client, the client is not entitled to an extension of time on the collateral call and the client is not entitled to choose which securities or other assets will be sold. The client can lose more funds than deposited in such collateral account. The LMA account is uncommitted and Bank of America, N.A. may demand full repayment at any time. A complete description of the loan terms can be found within the LMA account agreement. Clients should consult their own independent tax and legal advisors. Some restrictions may apply to purpose loans and not all managed accounts are eligible as collateral. All applications for LMA accounts are subject to approval by Bank of America, N.A. Home Icon for Equal Housing Lender Equal Housing Lender 


Visa is a registered trademark of Visa International Service Association and is used by the issuer pursuant to license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.


Bank of America, the Bank of America logo, Cash Management Account, the Bull Symbol, LMA and Loan Management Account are registered trademarks of Bank of America Corporation.


Credit cards are issued and administered by Bank of America, N.A. Deposit products and services are provided by Bank of America, N.A., and affiliated banks, Members FDIC and wholly owned subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation



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