October 18, 2010
Bank of America Corp. announced that it would launch a new program to improve lending and services for small businesses.
According to CNN Money, the program requires Bank of America to hire 1,000 small business bankers over the next year that would focus on companies earning less than $3 million in annual revenue. The first wave of bankers will be added in Dallas, Los Angeles, Baltimore and Washington D.C. The Charlotte Observer reported that hiring would continue in "select locations" across the country into early 2012, including Charlotte, New York and South Florida.
According to The Washington Post, the goal of small business bankers is to help smaller firms grow into larger companies as well as loyal customers. Previously, noted CNN Money, smaller community banks usually tended to small businesses, rather than national banks such as Bank of America. Joe Price, head of consumer banking at BofA told The Washington Post that small businesses often "fell between the cracks" because the bank did not have employees to support them. However, with an increased demand for local small business experts, The Charlotte Observer noted that BofA can no longer avoid Main Street businesses.
The new program will not only focus on lending, but also helping small businesses with accounting, cash management and retirement planning. "You want to be the full suite," explained Price. Additionally, The Charlotte Observer reported that although the bankers will be based in branches, they will spend much of their time visiting clients. "Our small business bankers will live and work in the communities they serve, making them uniquely qualified to work with these businesses and provide the best combination of financial services to help them grow," said CEO Brian Moynihan to CNN Money. Kerrie Campbell, who leads Bank of America's small business lending unit, added, "[The program] is very relationship focused."
As reported by The Washington Post, the bank hopes this new focus will help boost economic recovery and reduce unemployment. Last year, after meeting with the heads of large banks and President Obama, BofA pledged to increase lending to small business by $5 billion this year. "Anything that any of us can do to create more economic certainty should have a positive effect," said Moynihan.
Compiled by Heidi M. Agustin
"Bank of America hiring small biz bankers," CNNMoney.com, October 15, 2010, Catherine Clifford
"Bank of America's small-business boost," washingtonpost.com, October 15, 2010, Ylan Q. Mui
"BofA hiring bankers for small businesses," charlotteobserver.com, October 15, 2010, Christina Rexrode