by: Torie Wells Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
A Wall Street Journal article says Bank of America plans to close 200 branches nationwide and cut 16,000 jobs. Eyewitness News discovered at least one of the branches is in Charlotte.
The article is based on a document the Wall Street Journal obtained that was sent to top management at Bank of America.
The cuts were planned as part of the company's cost-cutting and restructuring plan, "Project New BAC," but they are coming earlier than previously projected. The plan calls for the company to cut about 30,000 jobs over the next few years.
Some customers received a letter from Bank of America stating that the North Graham branch in Charlotte will close Jan. 11. The letter suggests customers use the bank's Beatties Ford Road branch after that.
"I think the selling point of Bank of America is we have a lot of convenient locations," customer Lee Davis said. "You can get in and out really quick. Crowding everybody into Beatties Ford may not be as convenient as they want it to be."
Some people who work in the area said it will be a blow to the neighborhood.
"It's kind of sad," Danny Yiottis, co-owner of Tatsis restaurant, said, "because a lot of the people in our community around here depend on the bank. Older people need it to go cash their checks."
Bank of America confirmed to Eyewitness News that it is closing branches, but it would not say if others in the Charlotte area are closing in addition to the North Graham location.
A spokesperson said the decision to close the North Graham location "is driven primarily by a decline in transactions, as customers increasingly rely on other channels including mobile and online banking. However, we expect minimal impact given the proximity of other locations."
Some customers agreed. Renia Bates said she has done more and more of her own banking at ATMs or online.
"I feel like it's a smart business move," she said of the closure.
Queens University Economics Professor Harry Bowen said he believes customer service could actually improve because employees at other branches may work harder to keep business up so they can keep their jobs.
"This is competition," he said. "So it could be -- have a wake-up call."
The bank, which is headquartered in Charlotte, employs about 15,000 people in the Queen City.
Because the job cuts are in the mortgage and consumer bank areas, Bowen expects the impact will be spread across the country, not centered directly on Charlotte.
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