Information technology, operations and corporate functions will be the hardest hit, with commodities and fixed income unaffected. Merrill has already cut more than 5,000 positions over the past year and a half. Merrill currently has about 60,000 workers.
"We haven't mapped it out in terms of actual number of people, but we are committed to saving $7 billion across the combined platforms, and that will be a challenge,'' Thain said. "Between our two companies it will be clearly thousands of jobs.'
Given that Bank of America is paying about $28 billion for Merrill -- the closing price depends on where shares of Bank America close when the deal is finalized -- saving $7 billion per year will create substantial value: and possibly silence the huge number of critics who fear that Bank of America is overpaying given the valuations the market is currently applying to so many other banks.
But the huge job cuts signal that Bank of America is planning to integrate a good chunk of Merrill's operations, and that a post-merger Merrill Lynch will look very different from the company that has been built over the past 90-plus years.