Bank of America (BAC) will hire more than 1,000 small business bankers by early 2012, president and CEO of the bank Brian Moynihan announced Thursday. During his speech at the Chief Executive Club of Boston. Moynihan said the hiring is part of BofA’s effort to expand its small business presence in the marketplace.
“This new initiative is in addition to our announcement last year that we would increase lending to small and medium-sized businesses by more than $5 billion this year,” he said, “And our announcement earlier this year that we would commit to shifting a portion of our procurement spending to these businesses as well.” The uplifting news comes as the bank’s potential risk is catching attention. According to research done by Manal Mehta, analyst at Branch Hill Capital, BofA had only $3.9 billion in repurchase provisions in August to offset $11.1 billion of unresolved claims. Mehta’s reference to potential repurchases is in light of the two major acquisitions Bank of America made in recent years: Countrywide Financial, the largest issuer of subprime mortgages 2005 to 2007 with numerous cases of fraud on its record, and Merrill Lynch, one of the largest originators of subprime collateralized debt obligations. Spokesman for BofA, Scott Silvestri, spoke confidently in February 2008 about the Countrywide acquisition, saying the bank was aware of the potential claims against the company and factored that into the purchase. Moynihan was equally as confident Thursday that Bank of America, through its small business expansion, will “help create more certainty,” “more confidence,” and “more opportunity” for small businesses around the country. “There’s nothing different about our company today than yesterday,” Moynihan said. The Bank of America banking centers in Dallas, Los Angeles, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. will be hiring, and plan to begin that process by the fourth quarter of 2010. Small business bankers provide personalized attention as well as business consulting to owners in the same space. Write to Christine Ricciardi. Disclosure: The author holds no relevant investments.