Bank of America says it’s spending on talent, hiring even with inflation pressure

Bank of America continues to spend on its people and is looking to add more investment bankers even as inflation pushes expenses higher, Chief Financial Officer Alastair Borthwick said.

“We’re not immune to inflation, and we compete for talent along with everyone else,” Borthwick said at the bank’s securities financials CEO conference Tuesday. The company will invest in talent while keeping expenses “as tight as we can,” the CFO said.

Firms across Wall Street have started cutting jobs this year amid pressure to reduce costs. Bank of America has focused on driving revenue while keeping expenses unchanged from 2021, according to Borthwick. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based company has invested in digital and other products in recent years to offset some of the rising costs. 

“Every time that we do something electronic and the client takes a photo of a deposit check and does that rather than come into a branch, that’s saving us money,” Borthwick said. 

In Bank of America’s investment banking business, there are still not enough bankers to match clients’ needs, according to the CFO. Headcount and expanding the bank’s footprint remain the focus for the team, which is run by Matthew Koder. 

“We feel like we can do an even better job by adding more investment bankers,” Borthwick said.  

In the consumer business, the bank has seen spending on credit and debit cards slow in recent months. Americans also face the fastest inflation in decades, driven especially by higher costs for food, energy and shelter, which leaves less for discretionary purchases.

The lender said that while total payments increased 13% in August, many consumers are feeling the effects of rising utility and child care costs. Still, customer savings and checking accounts remain up since the pandemic began, and the consumer remains in “great shape,” with spending continuing through September, Borthwick said Tuesday.

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