Hire Wire Sep 12 2011

BofA Confirms It Will Ax 30,000 Jobs

By julie steinberg

As part of a plan to streamline management and increase efficiency, Bank of America confirmed it will eliminate 30,000 positions over the next few years. The company announced the cuts in a press release after chief executive Brian Moynihan outlined a plan to reduce expenses at the Barclays Capital financial conference in New York on Monday.

The cuts had been expected and represent roughly 10% of the bank's workforce. Earlier reports had estimated the figure to be around 40,000.

The bank said there's no absolute number of job reductions it's striving toward, but that eliminations will come as a result of reviews of various sectors across the bank. The bank expects attrition and "the elimination of appropriate unfilled roles" to form a significant portion of the decrease.

In his speech, Moynihan outlined a plan to save $5 billion in annual costs by the end of 2013 but did not make any reference to job cuts.

The first phase of Project New BAC, the title of the overhaul, is nearing completion, the bank said. In this phase, BofA crafted plans to reduce costs in consumer and small banking, card cost and global technology. In the next phase of the project, which will begin in October, the bank will seek to reduce costs in commercial banking, wealth management, corporate banking and investment banking.

It wasn't immediately clear how the layoffs would be distributed across the bank. A BofA spokesperson declined to comment.

The job cuts constitute the largest workforce reduction announcement by a U.S.-based employer since 2010, when the U.S. Postal Service announced 30,000 cuts that year, according to Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Prior to BofA's statement, pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. was responsible for the largest layoff announcement this year, with plans to cut 13,000 workers.

As part of the revamp, BofA has exited less profitable business lines, like its correspondent mortgage business, and its Canadian, Irish and British credit-card businesses.

BofA is the latest bank to announce job cuts numbering in the thousands. Last month HSBC announced a plan to eliminate 30,000 positions by 2013, while UBS, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs said they will reduce their headcount by thousands collectively.

Write to Julie Steinberg at julies@fins.com

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