Bank of America previews massive job cuts; Santander to cut 1900 in UK

Bank of America previews massive job cuts; Santander to cut 1900 in UK

Bank of America has confirmed plans to axe up to 35,000 jobs over the next three years, as it moves to eliminate redundancies from its pending merger with Merrill Lynch and respond to the weak economic environment.

The giant West coast bank says that the cuts will affect all lines of business and staff units. Detailed measures will be announced in early 2009.

"As many reductions as possible will be made through attrition," says the bank in a statement.

The cuts represent 11% of the combined workforce of 308,000 staff at Merrill Lynch and BofA.

The restructuring is likely to take a heavy toll on jobs in the City of London and Canary Wharf. Bank of America has around 2000 staff at its European headquarters in Docklands while Merrill has 6000 people in the Square Mile.

The UK jobs market took another blow late Friday when Spanish bank Santander announced plans to cut 1900 jobs in its three UK businesses - Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley.

Santander says it will be making efficiencies through transferring operations onto its proprietary IT platform, Partenon, as well as removing duplicated back office and support functions across the businesses. The operations of recently-acquired building society Bradford & Bingley are set to be migrated to Partenon in 2009.

There will be minimal impact on customer-facing roles in branches and call centres. Instead, the focus of the reductions will be in back office roles and across operational and head office sites. The bank has no current plans to close major sites although it may consolidate some smaller offices into larger sites.

The bank says that it will begin laying off staff in 2009.

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