As odd as it may sound, Bank of America was founded in San Francisco in 1904 as the Bank of Italy. Founder Amadeo Giannini created the bank in an attempt to provide banking services for immigrants who were not allowed to open accounts at other banks. When the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906 occurred, Giannini was able to salvage his deposits before the building burned, unlike most other bankers. This put him in an ideal position, as one of the few functioning banks in the aftermath, to make loans for rebuilding, and allowed him to greatly expand his business.
It would not be until 1928, when Giannini merged with Bank of America, Los Angeles, that the name would be changed to the one we know today.
A full accounting of the next 80 years would consume pages and pages, but suffice it to say that today Bank of America is the fifth-largest company in the USA, by revenue. Since the acquisition of Merrill-Lynch in 2008, Bank of America is also the largest wealth-management firm in the world, and a very big player in the investment banking market.
Bank of America Jobs
Bank of America places all jobs within one of nine categories –
CFO Group/Finance – This are the high-powered executive positions, requiring sterling credentials. If you’re young and just starting out, there’s probably not much for you here right now, but you can always hope to transfer into this group once you have a few years experience under your belt.
Consumer Banking – The nuts and bolts business of running thousands of neighbourhood banks all over the USA. This is the category with the greatest number of entry-level positions, and the easiest to get into.
Customer Care – This area encompasses all the customer service positions that do not involve actually working in a brick-and-mortar bank. Most of these positions will involve heavy phone work and online work, with a minimum of face-to-face contact with customers.
Global Human Resources – What used to be called the Personnel department. Hiring and training and assigning employees.
Mortgage – This is divided into Home Loans and Legacy Asset Servicing. Again, not much to explain, just the business of writing and selling and servicing mortgages. There are a fair number of of entry-level positions in the area, but do you really want to get involved in mortgages, in the current financial climate, with the current rate of foreclosure?
Operations – The support functions which keep all the banks running, Operations is “primarily responsible for overseeing the processes and transactions which help Bank of America maximize profitability and minimize risk. “
Risk – The field of Risk Management, which means looking at potential investments, calculating the estimated return on investment, and calculating the corresponding risk of losing the investment. You’ll need good math skills in this area!
Sales – Do we really need an explanation of this one? The website offers paragraphs of doublespeak, but sales is basically sales. You convince people to buy things.
Technology – Bank of America’s Information Technology division is huge, assisting the company to service 58 million customers in 40 countries, as well as supporting 5700 retail banking locations, and over 18,000 ATM machines.
Getting That Job at Bank of America
Bank of America’s career website is at careers.bankofamerica.com . Unfortunately, it can be a bit awkward to use, so let’s look at how it works. You can start by pulling down the Locations menu, and choosing your continental area. Let’s choose United States to begin. Now that you’ve chosen a country, use the dropdown on the right of the resulting page to…choose your country again. OK, choose United States again, and more dropdown boxes appear. Next, choose your state; I chose California. Now you can choose your city, but be aware that one of the glaring weaknesses of this search is that it will only display openings in the city you chose, not in nearby cities. I chose San Diego. Clicking the search button will display the results. In my example, I find 52 different job openings, spread from Fair Oaks, Virginia to Columbia Missouri. Finally, on the third of five pages of results, I find a few jobs in San Diego. Obviously, their search engine needs some work. Maybe you can get a job in IT and help them fix that?
Anonymous feedback from current and former Bank of America employees shows a solidly comfortable level of employee satisfaction, and a 73% approval rating for CEO Brian Moynihan.
And now for a few odds and sods of information that may be helpful to you –
- Employees report good benefits and child care assistance.
- An average starting wage of 11.25 per hour is reported for bank tellers, with actual rates varying from a low of $9 to a high of $15 per hour.
- Most applicants report an interview process consisting of online application, phone interview, a 1-to-1 interview, and then a group/panel interview. But applicants for entry-level positions often seem to proceed directly from phone interview to group interview.
- Applicants should expect to take a battery of tests, including a skills test, a personality test, and an IQ/Intelligence test.
- Applicants should also expect to undergo a background check and a drug test.
- While most reported interview questions are very straightforward, (of the “describe a time when…” variety), there are a few reports of more complex questions, see below.
- Sample interview question – “You are working as a teller, and being new, you’re not yet very familiar with the system. You are taking a long time with your current customer, and other customers in line are becoming visibly impatient. What do you do?”
- Sample interview question, “What kind of tree would you be?” (I’m not making these up!)
- Sample interview question, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
- Sample interview question, “What is your first action during a bank robbery?” (presumably they mean you to assume that you’re the teller, not the robber).
- Sample interview question, “Tell us about a time you saw something unethical happening in the workplace, and what you did about it.”
So, there you have it. There are jobs with Bank of America, and there are careers to be made, even in these financially challenging times. The website is awkward to use, but it can work for you, given a willingness to sift through the search results. The employees seem to feel it’s a good place to work, the benefits are reported to be good, and the company helps with child care, which can be a big decision-making factor if you have a family.