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Tue, May 06, 2008 - Page 10 News List

Bank of America's red signs replace LaSalle’s colors

AP , CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

Bank of America Corp was to officially mark its US$21 billion purchase of Chicago’s LaSalle Bank Corp yesterday, taking down LaSalle’s green and yellow colors for the blue and red of Bank of America.

“Those red signs will be very evident in Chicago,” said Liam McGee, Bank of America’s president of global consumer and small business banking, in an interview. “When they walk into a former LaSalle banking center, it will look and feel like a Bank of America banking center.”

The nation’s second-largest bank by assets bought LaSalle Bank last year, picking up the unit of ABN Amro Holding Co as Europe’s biggest banks fought over the rest of the Dutch company. The deal filled a key gap in the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank’s national coverage map, adding thousands of ATMs and hundreds of branch offices in Chicago and Michigan.

While Bank of America and LaSalle customers have had access to more than 18,500 ATMs to make cash withdrawals with no fees since October, McGee said that as of yesterday customers would have greater access to most of the bank’s products and services in its banking centers.

A complete system conversion will occur later this year, he said.

In the coming weeks, LaSalle’s roughly 1.5 million customers will receive new Bank of America-branded debit and ATM cards, and will begin to see account statements displaying the Bank of America name. To help ease the transition, existing customer account numbers and information will remain the same.

McGee said Bank of America plans to lay off about 2,500 people in Illinois over the next year.

“There were redundancies and overlap between the two companies,” he said.

Afterwards, Bank of America will have about 8,000 Illinois employees.

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