updated 1/1/2006 4:01:03 PM ET 2006-01-01T21:01:03

Bank of America Corp. completed its acquisition of MBNA Corp. on Sunday in a deal worth about $34.2 billion, the nation's second-largest bank said.

Bank of America now has 40 million active credit card accounts on its ledger, making it one of the leading worldwide payments-services companies and issuers of credit, debit and prepaid cards.

"Today marks the start of an exciting new era for Bank of America in credit cards," said Kenneth D. Lewis, chairman and chief executive officer.

MBNA is the leader in so-called affinity marketing with its relationships with organizations ranging from the National Football League to L.L. Bean and hundreds of medical organizations.

The acquisition has raised concerns in Maine, where MBNA has about 3,000 employees, with 2,000 of them in the Belfast area, making it among the state's top 10 employers. Besides Belfast, MBNA has call centers in Portland, Brunswick, Farmington, Orono, Presque Isle and Fort Kent.

It's not known what the impact of the merger will be in Maine.

Under terms of the agreement announced June 30, shareholders of Wilmington, Del.-based MBNA will receive 0.5009 common shares of Bank of America plus $4.125 in cash for each of their shares.

Bank of America plans to eliminate 6,000 jobs across both companies, which the Charlotte-based bank has said will help it achieve overall cost savings of $850 million by 2007.

Before the deal, MBNA had about 28,000 employees overall. Bank of America had more than 177,000 employees.

In 2004, Bank of America acquired FleetBoston Financial for $48 billion.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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