Wachovia begins layoff program

Previously announced layoffs

begin this week at Wachovia

Wachovia Corp. employees began losing their jobs this week as part of previously announced layoffs in the corporate and investment banking unit, a spokeswoman confirmed Friday.

The Charlotte bank last month said it was eliminating about 500 jobs in the unit involved in Wall Street-style services such as stock and bond offerings and merger advice. That amounts to about 8 percent of the 6,300 positions the unit had at the end of March.

A source familiar with the situation said this week's cuts came in the “structured products” area, which includes the creation and trading of complex securities that have fallen out of favor in the nation's mortgage meltdown. Wachovia has previously made reductions in real estate areas of the corporate and investment bank.

Wachovia has said the layoffs will be completed by the end of June.

Rick Rothacker

BofA planned to offer almost $10 per share for Countrywide, filing shows

Bank of America Corp. in December outlined a possible bid of $9.96 per share for Countrywide Financial Corp. until the troubled mortgage lender disclosed further deterioration in its financial condition, according to a securities filing this week.

The Charlotte bank agreed in January to buy the California-based lender for about $7.16 per share. Countrywide this week set a June 25 date for a shareholder meeting to approve the deal, raising confidence that the transaction will be completed after concerns it could fall apart or be renegotiated.

Countrywide shares Friday fell 13 cents to $5.26. Bank of America shares dropped 59 cents to $34.01. Rick Rothacker