CHICAGO - The municipal groups at Bank of America Corp. and Merrill Lynch & Co. are bracing for a new round of layoffs in the coming weeks as the bank seeks to steeply trim its ranks as it merges the public finance groups of each amid ongoing losses and economic turmoil.

The new round is expected as soon as late next week, according to market sources, and would follow the most recent series of firings that took place last Thursday and Friday and included bankers, traders, sales, and underwriting professionals in offices throughout the country.

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