BofA Cutting Staff Again After a Single Quarter of Hiring More

BofA Posts Best Profit in Six Years

Bank of America Corp. returned to its five-year-old practice of trimming staff, resuming a trend that had only reversed for a single quarter.

The nation’s second-largest bank by assets reduced its total employee count in the third quarter by 1,065 -- or 0.5 percent -- to just under 210,000 people. The firm added jobs earlier this year for the first time in more than 20 quarters.

Bank of America has been slashing jobs since Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan announced a cost-cutting push in 2011 to improve profitability. At the time, he said the firm would eliminate about 30,000 positions. But the lender kept whittling, eventually reducing headcount by more than 80,000.

The shrinking may be slowing, Chief Financial Officer Paul Donofrio said Friday.

“It’s certainly not going to decline at the pace it was declining in the past,” Donofrio said on a call with reporters. Any additional reductions wouldn’t be “giant numbers,” he said.

Still, the bank is hiring in one area: sales. It added more than 2,000 of what it calls primary sales professionals over the last 12 months, Donofrio told analysts on a conference call following the release of third-quarter results.

“If you aren’t growing your sales force, you can’t grow your production,” Moynihan said on the call.

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