Posted tagged ‘Wachovia’

Bank of America To Cut Up To 35,000 Jobs

December 11, 2008

Bank of America has announced that it expects to cut 30,000 to 35,000 jobs over the next three years.

From the Associated Press:

The final number could be even higher, analysts say. Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America said it hasn’t yet completed its analysis for eliminating positions, and won’t until early next year. The company and Merrill have about 308,000 employees in total, and the cuts will affect workers from both companies and all types of businesses.

Bank of America is considered one of the country’s healthier banks, and its decision to slash so many jobs illustrates the breadth of the layoffs hitting the United States. The nation lost more than half a million jobs in November alone, and economists expect many more to come.

Bank of America’s action is a particularly hard blow for Charlotte — which is also home to the beleaguered Wachovia Corp., a once strong bank that is now being acquired by Wells Fargo & Co. in what amounts to a fire sale. Just three months ago, when the Merrill Lynch deal was announced, Charlotte was dubbed Wall Street South; now, the banking center is being hit as hard as Wall Street and other towns across America, where people go to work in the morning unsure if they will still have a job that night.

Thursday’s announcement of job cuts at Bank of America was hardly unexpected, considering the merger and the wave of job losses seen in the banking industry and in other sectors over the past few months. Bank of America and Merrill Lynch have already eliminated thousands of investment banking jobs over the past year, as have other banks, in an effort to lower costs as they face increasing defaults in mortgages, credit card debt and other loans.

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Jobless Claims Reach 26-Year High

December 11, 2008

The number of Americans filing new unemployment insurance claims jumped last week to a 26-year high, surpassing the number of filings economists had predicted.

From CNN Money:

The Labor Department reported Thursday that initial filings for state jobless benefits surged to 573,000 for the week ended Dec. 6. That was an increase of 58,000 from a revised 515,000 claims in the previous week.

It was the highest number of jobless claims since Nov. 27, 1982 when initial filings hit 612,000. Economists were expecting jobless claims increase to 525,000, according to a consensus compiled by Briefing.com.

The four-week moving average of jobless claims, which works to eliminate fluctuations in data was 540,500 last week, an increase of 14,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 526,250.

One economist said the number of initial claims decreased in the previous report because the data from that report represented the week of Thanksgiving. Some of the surge in initial filings in this current report could be a bounce from that week.

However, “the underlying trend in the labor market is that it continues to weaken,” said Jay Bryson, global economist with Wachovia Economics, and that is evident in the 4-week moving averages of initial claims.

The number of people continuing to collect unemployment rose to 4,429,000 in the week ended Nov. 29, the most recent week available, which was also a 26-year high. The measure was an increase of 338,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 4,091,000.

Government Considering Ownership in Banks

October 9, 2008

Hmmmm. This might not be a good thing. The Bush administration is considering taking ownership stakes in certain U.S. banks as an option for dealing with a severe global credit crisis.

From the Associated Press:

An administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because no decision has been made, said the $700 billion rescue package passed by Congress last week allows the Treasury Department to inject fresh capital into financial institutions and get ownership shares in return.

This official said all the new powers granted in the legislation were being considered as the administration seeks to deal with a serious credit crisis that has caused the biggest upheavals on Wall Street in seven decades and continues to roil global markets.

Supporters of this approach, such as Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., argue that injecting fresh capital into U.S. banks who want to participate in the program would be an effective way to bolster banks’ balance sheets and get them to resume lending. Taxpayers would benefit because the government would receive an equity stake in the bank in return for providing the capital.

“This idea would, at a minimum, complement the administration’s planned approach of buying up troubled assets and may prove to be the most promising tool of all in Secretary Paulson’s kit,” Schumer said in a statement.

A decision to inject capital directly into financial institutions in return for ownership stakes would be similar to a plan announced Wednesday by Britain.

Wells Fargo Buys Wachovia

October 3, 2008

Just days after Citigroup announced the purchase of Wachovia for for $2.2 billion, Wells Fargo & Company announced today that it had reached an agreement to acquire the Wachovia Corporation for about $15.1 billion in stock.

From the New York Times:

The announcement came just four days after Citigroup had agreed to buy Wachovia’s banking operations of Wachovia for $2.2 billion of about $1 a share. But Wachovia, which is based in Charlotte, N.C., has now rejected that deal in favor of one where the entire company would be acquired. How Citigroup will respond to the news remained a question Friday morning.

In a statement, Wells Fargo, which is based in San Francisco, said that the deal required no assistance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency.

The bank plans to raise up to $20 billion by issuing shares, primarily common stock.

Under terms of the agreement, which has been approved by directors of each company, Wachovia shareholders will receive 0.1991 shares of Wells Fargo stock in exchange for each share of Wachovia stock. The transaction, based on Wells Fargo’s closing stock price of $35.16 on Thursday, is valued at $7 a share. Wachovia has almost 2.2 billion common shares outstanding. The agreement requires the approval of Wachovia shareholders and regulators.

Citigroup Acquires Wachovia

September 29, 2008

Citigroup has agreed to acquire Wachovia‘s banking operations for approximately $2.1 billion in stock and will assume another $53 billion in Wachovia’s debt. The transaction is expected to close before year-end. It has been approved by the directors of both companies and is subject to Wachovia shareholder and regulatory approval.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Citi’s purchase of the fabled Charlotte bank marks another deal orchestrated by the federal government, this time by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and one in which the agency could be on the hook for loan losses.

“The FDIC has agreed to provide loss protection in connection with approximately $312 billion of mortgage-related and other Wachovia assets,” Citigroup said in a statement.

The Federal Reserve and Treasury Department were also part of the effort, another sign of how proactive the government has been in preventing ailing financial firms from failing and instead pushing for stronger firms to acquire some assets of the weaker companies.

Wachovia shares fell more than 90% in premarket trading, and the New York Stock Exchange did not open the shares for trading. Citigroup was off 1% at $19.95 shortly after the market opened.

The FDIC said the deal was reached in concurrence with it, the Federal Reserve Board and the U.S. Treasury Department. “There will be no interruption in services, and bank customers should expect business as usual,” FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair said.

In a separate statement, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said he welcomes the Wachovia bailout deal and supports the timely actions taken by the FDIC. He added that the FDIC action shows the government is committed to U.S. financial stability.

The FDIC sought to calm any concerns the Citigroup and Wachovia deal might have on financial markets.

From the Washington Post:

The purchase of Wachovia boosts Citigroup as a rival for Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase in the new coterie of financial behemoths that is emerging from the current financial crisis. Those three banks will now control almost a third of the nation’s deposits.

Citigroup, based in New York, also will become the largest bank in the Washington area. The company said it would raise $10 million in new capital to help it absorb Wachovia’s troubled loan portfolio. Citigroup also plans to cut the dividend on its shares, among the most widely held stocks in America.