Home / News / World /  Bank of America freezes most hiring to control costs, guard against downturn

Bank of America Corp. started telling executives to pause hiring except for the most vital positions, as it tries to keep a lid on costs and prepare for a possible economic downturn. 

The move is an escalation of the company’s decision late last year to slow hiring after fewer employees decided to leave of their own accord, according to people with knowledge of the matter. 

Bank of America will hold off on bringing in new workers until at least mid-year or until the economy shows signs of a turnaround, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private plans. Certain roles will still be filled in units that have seen revenue growth, including business banking, trading and wealth management, as well as technology jobs.

Finance firms are wrestling with rising costs and persistent inflation as Wall Street’s war for talent fades. Expenses have been a closely watched metric for investors who reward firms for increasing revenue faster than costs. In recent quarters, despite inflation, Bank of America has been able to increase revenue faster than expenses.

A representative for the firm declined to comment on the hiring pause.

Bank of America has shown no signs of moving toward job cuts, despite a pullback across the finance industry. Overall headcount at the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank jumped to 216,823 at the end of 2022, up from 208,248 a year earlier and 213,270 in the third quarter, as hiring outpaced attrition. 

The company also contributed more to compensation, rewarding employees for their contributions in a year that brought in massive profits for the bank. 

The firm reported $15.5 billion of expenses in the final three months of last year, up $240 million from the previous quarter on an increase in people and technology costs, executives said on a call with analysts last week. It also saw higher costs from staff returning to work and travel. 

Bank of America was hiring to “match the great resignation earlier in the year, and it was sort of overachieving," Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan said on the call. The company then slowed its hiring efforts, which “will allow us to get back in the line and start to bring the headcount back down to where we want it to be," he said. 

Unlike peers who have resumed their annual culling of underperformers, Bank of America doesn’t have plans for widespread job cuts in an uncertain economic environment, Chief Financial Officer Alastair Borthwick said on a call with reporters last week. 


This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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