Bank of America is the biggest banking employer in the US, but it has accelerated plans that will see it lose that title to rivals, reports the Wall Street Journal. The bank aims to cut 16,000 jobs by the end of the year, allowing it to reach chief executive Brian Moynihan's target of shedding 30,000 jobs a year ahead of schedule. Most of the cuts will be in retail banking, where the bank plans to axe 200 branches on top of 178 closed last year, but some junior investment bankers will also be getting pink slips.
The cuts—part of a program called Project New BAC aimed at cutting $8 billion in costs by 2015—will bring the bank's head count down to its lowest level since 2008, when it bought Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch. But whoever is wielding the axe will want to keep plenty of IT workers on hand: The bank's website suffered outages earlier this week after a group calling itself the "cyberfighters of Izz ad-din Al qassam" threatened to attack the bank to protest the film mocking Mohammed that has caused riots across the Middle East, reports Reuters. (Read more Bank of America stories.)