Bank of America Corp. intends to hire 1,000 new small-business bankers across the country in the fourth quarter of 2010 and 2011, a company executive said.
The bankers will go after small-business clients with revenue ranging from $250,000 to $3 million, said Joe Price, president of consumer and small-business banking at Bank of America. The first hires in the fourth quarter will work out of existing offices in Dallas, Los Angeles, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., supplementing small-business "specialists" who already work from the bank's branches. The specialists will continue to focus on businesses with revenue below $250,000.
Bank of America Chief Executive Brian Moynihan is expected to discuss the moves during a speech Thursday in Boston.
The push for 1,000 new hires is one of the larger employment initiatives by the bank since the 2008 economic crisis. That year, it announced plans for 30,000 to 35,000 job cuts over three years as the Charlotte, N.C., lender absorbed New York securities firm Merrill Lynch & Co. and reeled from the U.S. economic slump.
The new employees will come "principally" from outside the bank, Price said.
The Bank of America executive declined to say how much the new people would be paid but noted that the new bankers would have wide responsibility when going after new business. They are expected to offer small businesses help with lending or cash-management services and to do some "quarterbacking" if the client needs to go elsewhere within the bank for help, he said.
Bank of America and other large U.S. banks are under pressure to increase their lending to small businesses due to a weak economic recovery. During the first half of 2010, Bank of America said it provided $45.4 billion in credit to small- and medium-sized companies.
Delinquent loans from small businesses were one of the bank's many problems in 2008 and 2009. Some of the defaults were tied to a "Business Credit Express" program the bank launched in 2006 that promised big loans with little hassle. Entrepreneurs could borrow as much as $100,000 through an unsecured credit line even if they had been in business for just one day.
"We weren't happy with some of the results [of that program]," Price said, and "we made adjustments."