Racist Ruins Bank Of America's Vaunted "Spirit Day"

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This didn't go over so well.

What not to wear on Halloween: A white hood, over your head, at the office, before an African-American, especially if you work for one of the nation's largest banks. I know. I should not have to say this. Yet this is allegedly what happened at Bank of America's mortgage office in Greenwood Village, on "Spirit Day," Sept. 17. An e-mail had circulated through the office days earlier: 'Wear your wacky hats Join in the fun!" Richard Brown, an assistant vice president, allegedly took the invitation as an opportunity to don garb that at least one person perceived as Ku Klux Klan attire. Brown didn't return my phone call or e-mail to tell his side of the story. Bank of America spokeswoman Kelly Sapp said the bank takes discrimination claims seriously, that the matter is under investigation, and that appropriate action will be taken. "We don't tolerate attire of any sort that could be considered offensive in the workplace," she said. "Based on the facts as we currently understand them, we do not believe judgment consistent with Bank of America's standards and expectations was demonstrated." Lisa House, 44, a mortgage closer who worked as a contract employee, said she was on her way to the supply room when the sight of a hooded man terrified her. "It wasn't a hat," she said. "It was a mask. And I just sort of froze."

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Layoffs Watch '12: Bank Of America

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Layoffs Watch '12: Bank Of America

In April 2010, Bank of America said ENOUGH. Enough with this losing of money business. We want to know what it's like to have a quarter in which we actually make a little-- wouldn't that be something? As this was a very lofty goal for the firm, the higher-ups knew they had to get serious-- really focus and hone in an on plan of action. First, they gave their new (money-making) mission a special codename: Project New BAC. Then, 44 executives "fanned out around the company to ask employees low- and high-level for ideas on how BofA [could]...reduce expenses." As we now know, what they came up with re: the reduction of expenses was that 30,000 people should be fired and over the last year, exactly that has happened. And even though a whole bunch of senior people have quit, which has helped the bottom line a bit, it hasn't been enough for meddlesome investors to put a sock in it re: "reining in expenses" and "profit outlook" in general. So, a couple things are going to happen: 1. A whole bunch of well-paid* bankers are going to be escorted out of the building and 2. In order to pick up the slack left, clusters of junior bankers are going to put in a van which will drop them off in whatever division needs them most at the time. The Charlotte, N.C., company is planning about 2,000 staff cuts in its investment banking, commercial banking and non-U.S. wealth-management units, said people familiar with the situation. Those operations were vastly expanded with Bank of America's 2009 purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co. The reductions are significant because of whom they target: the high-earning employees whose efforts helped Merrill Lynch account for the bulk of Bank of America's profit since the financial crisis. The cuts come on top of a plan announced last year that will see Bank of America eliminate 30,000 jobs over three years in its consumer banking divisions...The No. 2 U.S. bank by assets already is facing a wave of high-profile defections in its institutional businesses, such as investment banking, amid Wall Street's annual post-bonus job-hopping season. The upheaval comes as investors are pressuring banks to rein in expenses without giving ground competitively. Despite a 46% rise this year, Bank of America shares have lost a third of their value in the past year, amid questions about the industry's profit outlook. Cutbacks aren't Bank of America's only response to surging costs. The bank is loath to cut too deeply in businesses, such as the fixed-income trading operation, that are showing improvement and highly competitive. One structural shift being planned will pool junior investment-banking employees across different industry sectors so the younger bankers can be routed to whatever area is most in demand at that moment, said people familiar with the situation. Proponents say that move will help younger workers gain more experience, while others say it will detract from the bank's service to clients. BofA To Cut From Elite Ranks [WSJ] *For BofA.