Bank Of America To Cut 30,000 Jobs, Trim Expenses Bank of America says it will eliminate 30,000 jobs over the next few years. Officials say the cuts could save the bank as much as $5 billion. The Charlotte-based bank is trimming costs to deal with mortgage losses, mounting lawsuits and a stock price that has shed half its value in just 12 months.
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Bank Of America To Cut 30,000 Jobs, Trim Expenses

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Bank Of America To Cut 30,000 Jobs, Trim Expenses

Bank Of America To Cut 30,000 Jobs, Trim Expenses

Bank Of America To Cut 30,000 Jobs, Trim Expenses

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Bank of America says it will eliminate 30,000 jobs over the next few years. Officials say the cuts could save the bank as much as $5 billion. The Charlotte-based bank is trimming costs to deal with mortgage losses, mounting lawsuits and a stock price that has shed half its value in just 12 months.

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, Host:

From member station WFAE in Charlotte, Julie Rose reports on Bank of America's attempts to cut billions of dollars in expenses.

JULIE ROSE: It's been a slog, a plod, a struggle for Bank of America these last few years, or as CEO Brian Moynihan put it yesterday...

BRIAN MOYNIHAN: The grinding forward of the economy and a grinding forward of consumer spending levels in our businesses.

ROSE: The pressure has led Moynihan to unload big chunks of the bank - its international credit card business, for example.

MOYNIHAN: We've been selling all our non-core assets that we've accumulated over the years.

ROSE: The hope, at the end of all this grinding, is a sharper, more polished bank.

MOYNIHAN: The whole goal here was to make our company more streamlined, more efficient, easier to do business with, both internally and externally.

ROSE: Investors may also have been slightly relieved at the prospect of 30,000 job cuts, since recent speculation had the figure as high as 45,000.

BERT ELY: A lot of this is basically clean up from the mortgage mess and the problems that it acquired when it bought Countrywide.

ROSE: This is Virginia banking consultant Bert Ely.

ELY: And the big question mark with regard to mortgages is: How much is it finally going to cost?

ROSE: Mortgages are the root of Bank of America's woes. Moynihan frequently flashes a slide at these investor gatherings to prove the point. It's a bar chart with five of the bank's six divisions: credit cards, wealth management, deposits, et cetera above the profit line, and one big bar hanging below it.

MOYNIHAN: As you can see, all the businesses we have make money, except for mortgages.

ROSE: Moynihan says the bank has set aside enough money, tens of billions of dollars, to handle the problems, but investors seem to want more assurance. Here's a question Moynihan keeps hearing at these investor conferences.

MOYNIHAN: Can you, or would you bankrupt Countrywide? We'd look at all our options, but we wouldn't discuss them in a forum till we made a decision. But we always look at all our options on everything.

ROSE: Buese says investors are obsessing about Bank of America's cost-cutting and layoff plans because...

NANCY BUESE: All banks, from large to small, are going to have to cut costs over the next few years. The banking industry's got to get smaller. It's just that simple.

ROSE: Banks, on the whole, have too many branches, employees and ATMs for an economy where people aren't spending like they used to, says Buese.

BUESE: So I think that the market is looking at Bank of America as sort of an early warning indicator - if you want to put it that way - of what may be going on in the banking industry, generally.

ROSE: For NPR News, I'm Julie Rose, in Charlotte.

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