Bank of America plans to double the number of military veteran hires to 1,000 this year, with opportunities in IT and operations, military assistance, consumer banking and wealth management. The bank currently employs 6,000 veterans, reservists and active-duty service members among its 282,000 employees.
Veterans are a particularly good fit in technology and operations, said Jeff Cathey, a former Navy captain now a BofA senior vice president in charge of the bank's military business. The skills needed for those positions align with the field training that many in the military receive. "All divisions of the armed services require that kind of hard skill development," he said.
Cathey himself was hired in 2008 for his understanding of how the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs and various military non-profit groups operated. He oversees bank contracts with the Defense Department to operate 75 banks on military sites in ten foreign countries, including Italy, Germany and Japan, as well as helps provide vets with housing loans and other financial services.
Aside from roles in IT and operations, Bank of America has open positions for financial advisers, traders and wealth managers which require specific levels of certification. Veterans are often equipped to handle those tests, said Cathey. "Those who have been in the military are used to all sorts of qualification, certification and licensing processes," he said. "Very often they like that competitive challenge."
Bank of America also wants to hire veterans to provide over-the-phone support to their comrades on a 24-7 basis, said Cathey. The company set up three toll-free military assistance units in early 2011 to provide information to military personnel on how they can receive mortgage interest rate relief and other financial and legal provisions under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Bank of America currently has about 200 employees working in those units in Norfolk, Va., Tempe, Ariz. and Brea, Calif.
"We want veterans who know how to speak to their fellow service members, know the legislation and understand the payment allowance systems from the Department of Defense," said Cathey.
Write to Damian Ghigliotty at Damian.Ghigliotty@dowjones.com