Bank of America stands by pledge of no layoffs this year

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Bank of America plans to stand by its pledge of avoiding staff cuts this year as some of its biggest rivals resume workforce reductions amid the pandemic.

“We’ve said no layoffs for this year and we’ll stick by that,” Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan said Thursday in a Bloomberg Television interview. Banks including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup have resumed job cuts.

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America is temporarily staffed “a little higher” during the pandemic because it hired people to fill in for employees who were at high risk for Covid-19 and moved to different roles, Moynihan said.

“We’ll work it back down,” he said. “We’ll keep letting attrition be our friend, as we say, and we’ll keep working the headcount into what we need.”

The diversity of BofA’s workforce is also a focus, Moynihan said. He said the bank has “dramatically” increased representation of female, African-American and Hispanic employees in management positions in the last few years as it strives to represent the makeup of society as a whole. Banks have plenty of able candidates to choose from when building diversity, he said.

“We have more work to do in some areas,” Moynihan said. “There’s plenty of talent in the company, and plenty of talent outside, and we acquire it all the time.”

Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf last week apologized for what he called an “insensitive comment.” He had suggested financial firms have a “very limited pool of Black talent” from which to choose.

Moynihan reiterated comments he made two weeks ago that more U.S. government stimulus is needed to help companies still struggling to recover from the economic damages of the pandemic, including restaurants, airlines and performing-arts venues.

“We ought to have a stimulus aimed at helping them, because at the end of the day, they haven’t crossed the river yet,” he said.

The U.S. House is set to vote on the Democrats’ $2.2 trillion stimulus package Thursday night as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continue to work on a compromise.

Bloomberg News
Layoffs Bank of America Bank of America Merrill Lynch Brian Moynihan
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