BankAmerica Corp. plans to sell a significant chunk of its Asian consumer banking business.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based banking company late Wednesday announced plans to put its retail operations in India, Taiwan, and Singapore on the block, citing lower-than-expected growth.
The businesses employ about 1,000 people, some 24% of the 4,500 who work for BankAmerica in Asia.
"We have decided to concentrate our resources in markets where we can be a major participant and to invest our capital in those markets where we can achieve the best returns," said Kenneth D. Lewis, president of the BankAmerica's consumer and commercial banks.
"While our retail banking businesses in India, Taiwan, and Singapore have performed well," they are not expected to meet those criteria, he said.
Mr. Lewis added, however, that the bank will build its retail presence in Hong Kong and Macao.
International operations had been perceived as one of BankAmerica's strengths before its Sept. 30 merger with NationsBank Corp. of Charlotte, N.C. But a third-quarter trading loss of $579 million-attributed in part to activities in Russia and other emerging markets-may have changed that perception among NationsBank executives.
Wednesday's announcement marks the second major cut in international operations by the new BankAmerica.
Last month, it said it was eliminating 150 jobs in its exchange-traded futures business.
The layoffs were in London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Chicago.
BankAmerica entered the consumer market in India and Singapore in 1994, and in Taiwan in 1996.
The bank stressed that it would remain active in trade finance, treasury, and foreign exchange services in these countries.