Bank of America Reorganizes and Downsizes Its Investment Banking Unit While Adding 50 Small Business Bankers

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Bank of America is changing its investment banking leadership amid problems in that unit but is continuing its commitment to hire small business bankers.

In the I-bank’s reorganization, Christian Meissner will become head of global corporate investment banking, while two former co-heads of the unit will take on new roles, according to a memo sent to employees by co-chief operating officer Tom Montag that was obtained by Reuters.

Meissner will report to Montag, the former Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive who runs global banking and markets operations for Bank of America.

Paul Donofrio will become head of global corporate banking credit and transaction banking with responsibility for global treasury services, loan products and other services. Michael Rubinoff will become chairman of GCIB, where he will be charged with deepening client relationships. Both executives will also report to Montag.

More cuts are also expected in the investment banking unit as part of the second phase of an efficiency initiative called Project New BAC, which saw some 30,000 jobs being eliminated in the first phase over the next few years in a bid to trim $5 billion in annual expenses.

Despite recent troubles at BofA and in Montag’s business—which saw net income fall by more than half to about $3 billion in 2011 from the previous year and which has been slashing staff and telling investment bankers that part of their bonuses would be paid in stock in lieu of cash—the firm announced this week that it is hiring more than 50 small business bankers in New England to provide guidance and counsel to local small business owners.

The additions are part of the company’s previously announced plan to hire 1,000 small business bankers across the nation by mid-2012, Bank of America said in a press release.

These new hires will support the unique needs of small business owners in the following regions: