Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Economic Consequences of Charlotte, North Carolina

(with apologies to John Maynard Keynes....)

A long time ago in this blog, I hoped that another ABN-AMRO type bank such as RBS would acquire LaSalle. My biggest fear for the local economy was that Bank of America would be the buyer because it would mean major layoffs and the possible loss of a major local corporate citizen to the folks in Charlotte notwithstanding promises to the contrary.

Alas, some think the worst could come true. A report is estimating that the merger will cost Chicago some 10,500 jobs, both direct and indirect, as a result. B of A of course says any talk of layoffs is premature, but come on. Can you expect us to believe you’ll many if any headquarters staff here? Will loan committee decisions come from the Carolinas, thus possibly bringing to an end the bank that so many small and mid-sized counted on to get the job done? And what of that great dining room at the top of the headquarters building? (Somehow I bet that stays.)

Hopefully this report is a doom and gloom scenario, because the loss of LaSalle (not the name so much as what it has stood for) would be a shame.