Bank of America laying off more employees in Charlotte

Bank of America is laying off an undisclosed number of technology workers in Charlotte, the latest job cuts to hit the second-largest U.S. bank.

Employees were notified of the layoffs this week, sources with direct knowledge of the decisions told the Observer on Wednesday. The cuts affect the Charlotte-based bank’s global technology and operations unit, which is headed by executive Cathy Bessant, who also sits in Charlotte.

One technology employee who works in Charlotte said employees notified Tuesday include full-time project managers who oversaw software projects, including testing and upgrades, from start to finish. Bessant oversees a workforce of roughly 95,000 employees and contractors worldwide, including more than 6,500 in Charlotte.

“Like all companies, we are in a changing marketplace, and we must adjust our workforce to meet those needs,” bank spokesman Dan Frahm said in a statement.

Frahm declined to provide the number of employees being laid off, citing company policy. Those affected have been given two weeks’ notice and are eligible for company severance, he said. The employees are also encouraged to apply for other positions at Bank of America, but for those unable to find one, the bank will work closely with them to assist in locating a new role, he said.

The cuts come a week after home-improvement retailer Lowe’s announced layoffs of about 125 corporate tech workers, primarily at its headquarters in Mooresville, amid efforts to improve profitability. Many of the affected information technology job functions are being sent to Bangalore, India, where Lowe’s employs approximately 1,000 people in information and technology and analytics.

Bank of America has trimmed about 75,000 jobs under CEO Brian Moynihan, who has pushed to slash costs at a bank that expanded through decades of acquisitions before he took the helm in January 2010. As of the end of March, it employed 209,000 worldwide, including about 15,000 in Charlotte.

While Bank of America has cited attrition as one factor behind the lower headcount, it has also pointed to efficiency efforts in previous rounds of layoffs affecting technology jobs in Charlotte. Moynihan has been seeking to improve efficiencies under an ongoing program launched in 2014 called Simplify and Improve.

In addition, last July the bank unveiled a new cost-cutting goal to reduce annual noninterest expenses to roughly $53 billion by the end of 2018, compared with about $56.3 billion over the previous 12 months. Bank of America announced the goal in reporting second-quarter earnings that fell as the bank continued to feel the effects of low interest rates.

On Wednesday, Chief Operating Officer Tom Montag said the bank will keep cutting costs even after reaching the $53 billion goal by finding more ways technology can replace people.

“There’s more to do after that,” Montag said at a conference in New York. “How much technology can we do that replaces people? How many things do we have that we can use it? How much big data can we use that helps us target better and not waste our time on certain things?”

Montag said Bank of America will take a closer look at businesses that can be optimized, naming foreign-exchange trading as one example.

Bloomberg News contributed.

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts

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