A New York federal judge has approved the creation of a $150 million settlement fund for Bank of America Corp shareholders, as part of a larger settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over the bank's 2009 purchase of Merrill Lynch, the regulator said on Wednesday.

The SEC claimed that the Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender failed to disclose bonuses and financial losses at Merrill Lynch in the months before it acquired the investment bank in January 2009.

As part of the case's settlement earlier this year, the bank agreed to pay $150 million into a fair fund that will be distributed to owners of the bank's stock.

Shareholders who owned BofA stock as of January 16, 2009 are eligible for payouts from the fund, though shares received as part of the Merrill buyout are excluded from receiving compensation.

(Reporting by Joe Rauch, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)