Bank of America won't confirm report it's cutting jobs

The Charlotte ObserverSeptember 21, 2012 

— Bank of America would not confirm Thursday published reports that the bank planned to eliminate 16,000 jobs across the company by the end of the year.

But even if the bank’s job cuts don’t reach the pace set out in The Wall Street Journal’s report, job losses at Bank of America almost assuredly will continue to have an impact in Charlotte. Hundreds of people in the area work in the retail banking and mortgage origination units targeted in the current round of cuts.

Job eliminations in earlier parts of the year already have affected Charlotte workers. The bank employs about 15,000 in its headquarters city.

The Wall Street Journal reported late Wednesday that an internal document targeted 16,000 job cuts companywide by the end of the year, a significant acceleration of the cost-cutting program known as Project New BAC, after the bank’s ticker symbol, that executives announced in 2011.

The article said the bank expected to have full-time employee count down to 260,000 across the company by the end of the year. When Project New BAC was announced, the bank had nearly 290,000.

So if true, the latest cuts would bring the bank near the end of the 30,000 job eliminations originally announced. Getting there by the end of the year would mean a nearly 6 percent slashing of the company’s workforce in the second half of 2012, an aggressive pace the bank hasn’t yet come close to matching.

The cost-cutting program also has included selling off business lines, units and investments deemed not core to the bank’s mission, totaling more than $50 billion so far.

Bank spokesman Jerry Dubrowski declined to comment on the Journal report.

But a ramped-up job-cutting timeline would be in keeping with what Chief Financial Officer Bruce Thompson told investors last week at a Barclays financial services conference.

“We’re ahead of our schedule” on cost cutting, he said. The full $5 billion-per-year impact from the first phase of the cost-cutting program isn’t expected to be felt in the income statement until 2014, but the bank has projected getting 20 percent done by the end of the year.

An additional $3 billion in annual cost cutting is expected in a second phase of the program beginning now. There has not been any job-cut figure associated with that part of it.

Bank of America shares closed Thursday at $9.19, down about 1 percent, on a day when many financial stocks fell.

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