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Ahead of the bell: Bank of America

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NEW YORK -- Bank of America is looking to speed up its cost-cutting efforts and will eliminate 16,000 jobs by the end of the year, according to a media report.

The Wall Street Journal said last week that the bank detailed its job reduction plans in a document distributed to the company's top management.

A representative for Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) declined to comment.

If Bank of America Corp. goes through with all of the job cuts, the Charlotte, N.C., company would end 2012 with about 260,000 employees, according to The Journal. The newspaper said that this would make its workforce smaller than those of J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo, and it would no longer serve as the biggest banking employer in the United States.

The job cuts are part of plans that Bank of America announced last year to eliminate approximately 30,000 positions. The company said at that time that it hoped the workforce cuts and other measures would result in $5 billion in annual savings by 2014.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the staff cuts are part of a larger expense-reduction plan called Project New BAC that is expected to result in $8 billion in annual savings by 2015.

Project New BAC has two phases. The first phase is anticipated to result in $5 billion in annual savings while the second phase is expected to bring about $3 billion in annual savings. The second phase is expected to concentrate on the company's commercial bank, investment bank and wealth management.

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