Bank Of America Confident "Tragedy + Time = Comedy" Applies To Layoffs

They needed to come up with some form of entertainment and it was this or midgets.
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Others beg to differ.

From the mailbag:

"At BAML's lev fin holiday party last week, several members of the group created a PowerPoint presentation that included a slide with the pictures of two employees who'd been laid off earlier in the year, with captions above each person saying, 'What's a loan?' and 'What's a bond?' This was shown in front of the whole group and several high ranking members of BAML who were seen laughing hysterically. The same thing happened last year-- apparently besmirching the reputation of laid off employees is a little holiday tradition!"

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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.

Layoffs Watch '12: Bank Of America

On the one hand, Brian Moynihan et al plan to cut staff next month, which hurts. On the other, they've been firing off warning signals that employees may want to explore their options elsewhere, so that's nice. "Ahead of expected cuts at the House of Moynihan in the Apr-May timeframe, a lot of juniors are being pulled into conference rooms and told it might be in their interest to "reach out and have a chat" with other groups. Reshuffling and reallocation are well underway. No rhyme or reason as far as we can tell regarding why some analysts and associates are being nudged and others aren't (some top bucketed guys got nudged, and some bottom feeders got nudged as well)."

Layoffs Watch '12: Bank Of America

Project New BAC continues, only now that it's worked out some of the initial kinks, management is going to fire people a lot faster that before. Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan, 52, is relying on expense cuts to improve profit as mortgage losses and regulation squeeze revenue. The earlier phase of his efficiency plan, called Project New BAC, targeted $5 billion in costs and 30,000 jobs...The lender had 275,460 employees at June 30, compared with 278,688 on March 31 and about 288,000 at the end of last year’s second quarter. The number of banking centers in the U.S. fell by 148 in the 12 months ended June 30 to 5,594...The new round of cost cuts will come at a faster rate than the first phase, Chief Financial Officer Bruce Thompson said today on the call. The $3 billion in savings will probably be realized at about $1 billion per year, he said. Moynihan told employees in January that he expected Project New BAC to eliminate a total of $6 billion to $8 billion a year in expenses, Bloomberg News reported. The bank said today it’s on track to realize $1 billion of the cost savings from the first phase by the end of this year. [Bloomberg]

Layoffs Watch '12: Bank Of America

...needs a few more years to get through its "cost-cutting initiative." Head count dropped by 3,000 from last quarter, the bank said today. Bank of America this quarter entered the second phase of "Project New BAC," its companywide cost-cutting initiative, targeting a $5 billion reduction in spending by the bank by the end of 2014. Some of that will come from job cuts, the bank has said, as it plans to reduce the number of positions at the bank by 30,000 over the next three years...The current phase of New BAC will be focused on saving money in its commercial banking, global wealth and investment management, world-wide corporate banking, global markets and some support functions. The spokesman could not confirm that future reductions will be limited only in these businesses, as "some of the ideas that came from Phase 1 will take a number of years to implement." [FINS]

Bank Of America Hoping To Fire Thousands Of Employees In Record Time

Remember Project New BAC, i.e. Bank of America's plan to transform itself from Ken Lewis's house of fun, where everyone went home happy but the concept of making money was less of a focus than keeping the good times coming, to an institution that did things like post profits? The bank has said previously that PNBAC "will result in $8 billion in annual savings by 2015—$5 billion from the first phase and $3 billion from a second phase" and while it stands by those figures and remains committed to cutting as many employees as it takes, some people would like them to be a bit snappier about it. Bank of America is accelerating a broad cost-cutting plan and has set a target of shedding 16,000 jobs by year's end—cuts that would see the company relinquish its title as U.S. banking's largest employer. The proposed year-end total of 260,000 would be the lowest count since 2008 and likely give Bank of America a smaller workforce than JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, or Wells Fargo...Chief Executive Brian Moynihan is trying to speed the company's transformation into a smaller and more efficient operation as he tries to persuade investors that expenses can be adjusted to compensate for revenue lost to new regulations, an uneven economy and shaky markets. Since becoming CEO in 2010, he has shifted away from a nationwide expansion strategy embraced by his predecessors Hugh L. McColl Jr. and Kenneth D. Lewis, and shed many of the businesses that he considers to be nonessential...Hitting the new staffing target would fulfill a year early Mr. Moynihan's pledge to slash the bank's workforce by approximately 30,000. "If they want to make any headway toward improving profitability," said Sterne Agee & Leach Inc. senior banking analyst Todd Hagerman, "they need to accelerate the timeline." Bank Of America Ramps Up Job Cuts [WSJ]

Layoffs Watch '12: Bank Of America

Third-year Gulfstreams, pilots, and flight attendants have been encouraged to explore opportunities elsewhere. Bank of America Corp. has sold half of its corporate jet fleet and laid off some of its pilots, the Charlotte Business Journal has learned...BofA also has laid off more than half a dozen pilots and support staff at its corporate aircraft hangar in Charlotte, according to people familiar with the operations...Company officials decline to say whether the sales are part of a cost-cutting move or are a step toward fleet upgrades. Cost-cutting seems more likely. Bank of America trims corporate jet fleet and staff [BizJournals]