Bank of America Recruiting to Fill 1,300 New England Jobs

Executives with Bank of America say they’ll recruit to fill 1,300 jobs across several lines of business — mostly in Massachusetts and Rhode Island — by the end of 2006 to make good on a pledge about overall New England employment made more than two years ago.?

The bank will recruit new personnel for its Boston-based Global Wealth and Investment Management division, a client relationship center in nearby Waltham, Massachusetts, as well as for its branches and a Rhode Island call center.

The recruiting push is part of the bank’s plan to follow up on promises it made to keep the same number of New England employees — 17,900 — as FleetBoston Financial Corp. had at the time of its acquisition by Bank of America. Bank of America acquired Fleet for $48 billion.?

Bank of America spokesman Ernie Anguilla confirmed that the recruiting planned now through year’s end is indeed “a follow-up to the employment commitment Bank of America made after the Fleet merger.” He added, in a statement: “We pledged to return to pre-merger employment levels in New England by the end of 2006.”

Anguilla also confirmed statements by Anne Finucane, Bank of America’s global marketing and corporate affairs executive, who had said previously that the CEOs of both banks had agreed about New England staffing levels before the acquisition.

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Bank of America currently employs 16,600 people in New England. It has 1,100 open positions and recently held a job fair outside Boston to help recruit new staff. Later this fall, the bank will announce plans to add another 200 jobs to reach its employment-pledge goal.

The bank’s open positions range from $210,000-a-year wealth management positions to $30,000-a-year back-office jobs.

The bank’s recruiting efforts in New England will put eventually put 1,300 people to work there, but will also earn Bank of America important public relations points.

Soon after it acquired Fleet, Bank of America laid off 3,000 people in New England, prompting an outcry from politicians and others who questioned its long-term intentions in the region. But Bank of America has been recruiting steadily since 2004, and now appears poised to win a lot of friends for keeping its promises.