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BofA’s health more crucial to Charlotte than ever

Aug 12, 2011 6:55:00 AM - thestate.com
As Bank of America Corp.’s stock has tumbled and clawed back in recent days, city leaders, business owners and others with a stake in the company are waiting to see what happens next.

The stock market swings have delivered a familiar feeling of anxiety to a city pummeled by the financial crisis. Local leaders and business owners say they aren’t as fearful this time. But they acknowledge that the nation’s largest bank, once a symbol of Charlotte’s swagger and still a critical driver of payrolls and portfolios, is as important as ever to the city’s rebound.

After all, bankers’ jobs help fuel the local economy. Shareholders’ portfolios fund retirements. Nonprofits’ budgets rely on donations, and countless businesses depend on wealthy bank workers’ dollars.

“The economic impact is just enormous here,” said Ronnie Bryant, chief executive of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, a nonprofit economic development organization. “You always keep your eye on what’s going on.”

Stock markets bounced back Thursday after plunging this week amid news of the U.S. credit downgrade, concerns about European debt and overall economic worries. Financial stocks took a particularly big hit.

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