updated 10/7/2004 1:50:58 PM ET 2004-10-07T17:50:58

Bank of America Corp. said Thursday that it plans to cut about 2.5 percent of its work force, eliminating about 4,500 jobs as part of a restructuring following its acquisition of FleetBoston Financial Corp. last spring.

The company said it expects to record about $150 million in severance charges over the next three quarters from the job cuts, which will begin this month. Bank of America did not disclose in a press release whether the charges will impact its earnings per share expectations.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call put the company's earnings per share at 90 cents, 94 cents, and 96 cents for the third and fourth quarters of 2004, and the first quarter of 2005, respectively.

Bank of America added that the cuts will come from all of its divisions and will mostly affect non-customer service positions, but said the reduction will not impact its employment commitments in the New England region. The company currently has about 178,000 employees.

Career services, severance pay and extended benefits will be given to employees who are laid off, the company said.

Shares of Bank of America fell 1 cent to $45.24 during early-morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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