Bank of America layoffs continue

CHARLOTTE — Two months since Bank of America Corp. announced major company-wide layoffs, the cuts are rippling through Charlotte, but it's still unclear how many jobs will be lost in the bank's headquarters city.

The bank last month filed a notice with state officials saying it would eliminate 139 workers in Ballantyne, but beyond that it has declined to confirm reports of layoffs, or to say how many workers will be affected here. The 35,000 job cuts announced in December are related to the Jan. 1 purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co. and a weak economy. They will take place over the next three years.

Current and former employees say job cuts began in December and have intensified in recent weeks, hitting a variety of divisions and levels, but even those inside the company say it's difficult to gauge the total impact. The quiet nature of the cuts has eroded morale and left many nervous about their own posts, they say.

Among employees in Charlotte there is a feeling "they are chopping people left and right," one laid-off worker said. Current and former employees didn't want their names used for fear of losing their jobs or severance pay.

At least 20 workers were let go last week in the quality and productivity division. Risk management also laid off workers. Corporate and investment banking, technology and operations, personnel and finance have been hit, according to employees who spoke to the Observer.

Bank of America is one of the Charlotte area's biggest employers, with about 15,000 workers here as of last year. The job cuts affect the bank's workers, as well as the broader economy.

Companies are supposed to notify the state each time they announce mass layoffs, but that regulation has little teeth and lots of loopholes. In four key states where the bank operates, including North Carolina, Bank of America has disclosed 460 layoffs so far this year.

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