Bank of America is shutting down its child care centers around the country, including its location in Charlotte, as the bank continues to cut costs.
The Charlotte banks 10 centers will close at the end of June, according to a letter obtained by the Observer. The letter says the move was made in order to focus on programs that are broadly accessible to employees.
The move is the latest example of the bank chipping away at employee benefits. Over the summer, Bank of America froze its employee pension plans, instead opting to contribute a percentage of the employees salary to a 401(k).
The bank has also been aggressively cutting jobs across the company, working toward a total of 30,000 fewer jobs as set out in an announcement last year.
At the end of the second quarter, Bank of America reported having 275,500 full-time employees, down about 5 percent from its peak last year. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the bank was speeding up its job cuts with a target of 16,000 by the end of this year.
The bank confirmed Monday that it was closing the child care centers, where the bank offered subsidized care. A spokeswoman said the closings were announced well in advance to give employees a chance to make other arrangements.
The bank said it would affect less than 1 percent of its workforce, or fewer than 2,750 workers, but did not break out how many are in Charlotte.
The banks child care centers are operated by Massachusetts-based Bright Horizons, which told its employees of the changes Friday, the letter said. The bank has set up a phone line to help parents find new child care centers for their children, and Bright Horizons will give children of Bank of America employees priority enrollment preference at its other locations. Bright Horizons has four other locations in Charlotte; one is uptown.
Bank of Americas Charlotte child care center is uptown on North Poplar Street. It opened in November 1992, shortly after the company adopted the name NationsBank, and was built to serve 200 children.
The next month, the bank pledged $35 million to boost child and dependent care programs across the country.
NationsBank has a simple philosophy, Hugh McColl Jr., the banks then-CEO, said in a statement at the time. If employees are treated well, they in turn take care of customers, and that affects the bottom line, which improves shareholder value.
Back-up child care coming
Bank of America now has child care centers in Jacksonville, Fla., and New York City, among other locations. It is unclear what will be done with the buildings.
Last week, Bank of America was once again named to Working Mother magazines annual list of the countrys best companies for working moms. It made the top 10 list this year, in part because of its day care centers.
Bank of America will be rolling out a back-up child care program in January, in which parents whose primary caregiver is not available can drop their children off at a Bright Horizons center.
The bank also maintains a child care benefit program that reimburses employees who make less than $50,000 up to $240 per month, per child for child care expenses.