Aug. 26, 2004 – The hundreds of Boston-area layoffs announced last week as a result of Bank of America's merger with Fleet Boston Financial are coming under scrutiny from state and federal officials. Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey said Bank of America may have violated an agreement made at the time of the merger requiring the newly formed banking behemoth to maintain employment levels for ''customer-facing positions" after the merger's completion. Regardless of any such deal, the bank laid off an unspecified number of Boston-area tellers and other customer service employees and asked more still to reduce work hours last week.
Bank of America says the recent round of layoffs numbers in the "hundreds," and it intends to "reduce" 12,500 jobs as a result of the merger.
Additionally, Massachussetts Representative Barney Frank, a Democrat, secured a Congressional hearing in Boston for November or December to consider the local economic damage resulting from the merger. Frank said, according to Dow Jones Newswires, Bank of America's decision to lay off hundreds of Fleet workers reeked of "arrogance, lack of honesty [and] disregard for the economic needs of Massachusetts."