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Bank Of America Planning To Cut 30,000 Jobs

Bank of America said Monday that it will cut about 30,000 jobs over the next few years in a bid to save $5 billion per year.

"The whole goal here was to make our company more streamlined, more efficient, easier to do business with both internally and externally," CEO Brian Moynihan said at a banking conference.

In a statement, Bank of America said it expects many of the 30,000 job cuts will come through attrition and eliminating unfilled positions as it tries to streamline operations. It did not give an exact timetable for the reductions, but said the cuts should save $5 billion a year by 2014.

The company also plans to slash roughly $73 billion dollars in annual expenses.

The cuts are part of "Phase I" in a cost-savings program the bank calls "Project New BAC." Phase II, involving businesses and operations that weren't part of the first round, is scheduled to begin in October, according to the statement.

In the past week, rumors about possible cuts at the troubled Charlotte, N.C.-based bank had ranged as high as 40,000 jobs.

Bank of America is the largest U.S. lender by assets, but it will likely lose that distinction as it strives to become profitable again. Shares of the company were up slightly in afternoon trading Monday. But confidence in Bank of America's short term prospects remains low — the company has lost roughly thirty-five percent of its stock value in the past three months.

It also faces billions of dollars in lawsuits over mortgage backed securities its subsidiary Countrywide Financial sold during the housing boom. Bank of America bought Countrywide in 2008.

The job cuts announced Monday follow a revamp of the bank's top management team last week. Two senior executives, wealth management head Sallie Krawcheck and head of consumer banking Joe Price, left the bank. The bank also elevated commercial banking chief David Darnell and investment banking head Tom Montag to co-chief operating officers, reporting to Moynihan.

The latest job cuts will lead to a 10 percent reduction in Bank of America's work force of 288,000, and are in addition to 6,000 positions the bank has already eliminated through the third quarter of this year.

With reporting from NPR's Alex Kellogg in Washington, D.C., and Scott Graf of member station WFAE in Charlotte, N.C. This story contains material from The Associated Press.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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