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Sat, Dec 13, 2008 - Page 10 News List

Bank of America plans to cut 35,000 jobs in three years

AP , NEW YORK

Bank of America Corp said Thursday it expects to cut 30,000 to 35,000 jobs over the next three years, as it faces a deteriorating economic environment and tries to absorb Merrill Lynch & Co.

The final number could be even higher, analysts say. Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America said it hasn’t completed its analysis for eliminating positions and won’t until early next year. The company and Merrill have about 308,000 employees in total, and the cuts will affect workers from both companies and all types of businesses.

Bank of America is considered one of the country’s healthier banks, and its decision to slash so many jobs illustrates the breadth of the layoffs hitting the US. The nation lost more than half a million jobs last month alone, and economists expect many more to come.

Bank of America’s action is a particularly hard blow for Charlotte — which is also home to the beleaguered Wachovia Corp, a once strong bank that is now being acquired by Wells Fargo & Co in what amounts to a fire sale. Just three months ago, when the Merrill Lynch deal was announced, Charlotte was dubbed Wall Street South; now, the banking center is being hit as hard as Wall Street and other towns across the US, where people go to work in the morning unsure if they will still have a job that night.

With no end in sight yet to the economy’s troubles, Bank of America might have to slash even more jobs as loan losses mount, said Alois Pirker, a senior analyst at Boston-based research firm Aite Group. If the company’s earnings worsen from this year to next, “I think that might lead to more reductions.”

New York-based Citigroup Inc has been slashing jobs the most. By next year, Citigroup expects to have shrunk its work force by 75,000, or 20 percent, since its headcount peaked late last year.

JPMorgan Chase & Co is shedding about 7,000 employees.

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