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BofA to sell 3 corporate jets, Merrill helicopter

February 05, 2009|Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Bank of America Corp. said Wednesday that it was selling nearly half of its corporate aircraft as the bank looks to scale back costs.

The bank joins Citigroup Inc. and other companies in cutting back private jet travel. Many financial firms are giving up the perk as scrutiny mounts over lavish spending after the companies received billions of dollars in rescue funds.

Since October, Bank of America has received $45 billion in government assistance, including a $20-billion injection last month to help with its acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co.

"As part of an ongoing cost-reduction effort we have been scaling back on our use of corporate aircraft, including selling three aircraft we own and the Merrill Lynch helicopter," Bank of America spokesman Scott Silvestri said. He declined to say how many planes the bank still owned.

The news comes as several financial firms, some under pressure from President Obama and politicians, have decided to reduce their fleets.

Last month, Citigroup reversed course in taking delivery of a jet it had planned to purchase before the credit crisis unfolded. The New York-based bank was also said to be cutting the number of corporate jets in its existing fleet from five to two.

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. has also been reported to be downsizing the jet fleet it acquired when it purchased Wachovia Corp.

Shares of Bank of America fell 60 cents, or 11.3%, to $4.70, their lowest level in 19 years.

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