Bank of America Corp., the nation’s second-largest bank and the world’s 12th largest, continues to adjust and considers its 8,500 jobs in Jacksonville as an indicator of Northeast Florida’s importance to the company.
Brian Moynihan, Bank of America chairman and CEO, was the keynote guest Monday at the JAXUSA Partnership economic development division meeting of the JAX Chamber. More than 700 people attended.
Moderator Fredrik Eliasson, JAXUSA chair, asked Moynihan his perspective on Jacksonville compared with Bank of America’s headquarters city of Charlotte.
Moynihan talked positively about both, while emphasizing Jacksonville’s continuing role in the company. “The key is to recognize that 8,500 jobs here is critically important,” he said.
Bank of America typically doesn’t share employment figures for an area. Eliasson also referred to more than 8,000 jobs, so any public reference to the company’s employment reach in the market is noteworthy.
Bank of America has downsized corporately, as well as in Jacksonville, in the years since the 2008 financial crisis. However, jobs more recently have been holding steady in the Northeast Florida market.
In June 2013, Bank of America Merrill Lynch won city and state incentives to create 200 positions in Jacksonville. JAXUSA President Jerry Mallot said in November the actual total was expected to reach 1,000 more jobs within four years.
Once jobs with a long lifecycle are anchored within a community and the market is performing well, it’s difficult to remove them, Moynihan said.
In December 2010, former Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton announced at a JAX Chamber meeting that Bank of America and Merrill Lynch would add 1,000 high-wage jobs in the market over the next several years at their Southside campuses. The chamber said that would boost the company to about 8,000 jobs.
Moynihan, 55, was named CEO of Bank of America in 2010 and became chairman Oct. 1. Its assets of $2.17 trillion are second to the $2.5 trillion of New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Moynihan was in Jacksonville for a visit with the company’s local operations, according to a spokesman.
Bank of America is the market leader in metropolitan Jacksonville with $20.8 billion in deposits at 35 area offices, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s annual update of market share for U.S. metropolitan areas.
Its Jacksonville market comprises Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties. The bank captured 42.1 percent of the total deposits of $49.4 billion in the market.
The bank says that as of July 1, it has issued $25.4 million in year-to-date new loans to small businesses.
Bank of America also talks about its philanthropy, saying its Charitable Foundation provided $1.15 million in grants and matching gifts to Jacksonville nonprofits in 2013. Employees pledged almost $777,000 to the United Way campaign last year and contributed 31,679 volunteer hours year-to-date.
Its primary operations are in the Bank of America Tower Downtown as well as at its campuses along Southside Boulevard near The Avenues mall and in Deerwood Park. A Jacksonville call center supports multiple lines of business, including its video ATMs.
Eliasson said Jacksonville was grateful for the jobs, but “you always want more” and asked Moynihan how to get them.
Moynihan said the key was “to continue to do what you have done.” He cited providing a good educational system, training and “then you have to have a good place to live.”
He said Bank of America was bringing back 5,000 jobs from outside the United States and “Jacksonville is a beneficiary of that.”
He said Jacksonville has “held steady.”
Bank of America has long been one of the area’s largest private employers, coming to town as a result of Jacksonville’s legendary Barnett Banks Inc. selling to NationsBank, which then merged with Bank of America.
An industry leader
Moynihan is well known in the industry, earning widespread media coverage the past several years. He joined the company more than 20 years ago.
Reuters news service reported last week that while Moynihan has been working to end legal problems, he also has been retooling the bank “for a post-crisis world.”
Reuters said Moynihan has taken more direct control of the bank’s retail business and shifted executives into new positions, ordering officials at every level “to think harder about how to sell more products to existing customers.”
Bank of America is marketing credit cards and home equity loans to its checking-account holders and talking to corporate borrowers about treasury and retirement-planning services.
The news service said Moynihan began to directly oversee retail banking, which is the company’s biggest profit engine, earlier this year.
He also helped to reshape the board, signaling that he plans to remain at the bank for the long haul, defined as a minimum of five years, Reuters said.
And it’s a big company.
Forbes.com reported Wednesday that, excluding special items, Bank of America posted $21.4 billion in third-quarter revenue, below the $21.7 billion reported in the third quarter of 2013. The bank’s revenue has hovered around $21 billion a quarter since 2012.
In August, Bank of America reached a nearly $17 billion settlement with the Department of Justice to end investigations into its sale of faulty mortgage securities, reported washingtonpost.com.
It became the third Wall Street bank to reach a multibillion-dollar agreement with the Justice Department for allegedly misleading investors about the quality of bonds sold in the lead-up to the 2008 financial crisis.
Reuters said last week’s financial report underscores the work Moynihan has yet to do. The news service reported that since 2010, Bank of America has agreed to pay more than $70 billion to resolve legal disputes and buy back bad mortgages linked to the financial crisis.
Eliasson asked Moynihan about the $70 billion.
Moynihan said Bank of America and other lenders “all basically fueled the growth in housing that was not sustainable.”
During the almost 40-minute conversation, Eliasson asked a wide range of questions about the bank’s emergence from the financial crisis, the economy, the Federal Reserve System, regulation and technology, especially the growing number of people who use their mobile devices to deposit checks and do their banking.
Asked about security, Moynihan pledged that “Your information is secure, but we have to make sure it stays secure.”