Bank of America Will Search for Automation-Based Cost-Cutting Even After Hitting Its Spending Goals

Bank of America Will Search for Automation-Based Cost-Cutting Even After Hitting Its Spending Goals

Bank of America is already on the way to reaching its self-imposed spending limit of $53 billion USD that it set last year. But a top executive at the Charlotte-based financial institution said this week that the company plans to continue to extend its cost-cutting efforts even after reaching that goal.

“There’s more to do after that,” said Tom Montag, chief operating officer at Bank of America, at a conference today in New York, per Bloomberg.

The bank has left little doubt as to where it will be looking for more savings: layoffs and automation. Another round of workforce cuts have already at the company headquarters in North Carolina, according to Reuters, and more will be coming as some of its 1,300 applications, which cost $1.3 billion USD to run annually, are eliminated.

“How much technology can we do that replaces people?” said Montag. “How many things do we have that we can use it? How much big data can we use that helps us target better and not waste our time on certain things?”

Specifically, the COO said that foreign-exchange (FX) trading is one area that is ripe for a technology-centric overhaul aimed at boosting efficiency.

“I’m going to go back and look at your FX business,” said Montag. “How much is straight-through processing? How much can I spend to lower the amount of people I have that touch this? Can I go from 70% straight through to 99%? Every one of those things adds up to hopefully make us more efficient.”

Total expenses for Bank of America totaled around $55 billion USD in 2016, down nearly $3 billion USD from the prior year. The company has projected that it will meet its $53 billion USD goal for expenses by 2018.

In a search for profits, Montag also said that the bank will look to steal market share in the international cash management business from global leader Citibank. He said Bank of America will push the service toward middle-market companies, which doesn’t always come with large margins but can lead to other related business, according to Reuters.

“We’ve invested in our cash management portal to be able to be a better international portal,” said Montag. “We’ve been winning mandates that we heretofore had not won.”

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