CHICAGO - Chicago-based general government banker Eric Rockhold started Monday with Bank of America Merrill Lynch as a co-head of the central region, industry sources said.

The hire is the latest personnel development at BofAML in Chicago, which saw the recent departure of two higher education banking specialists. Two other bankers in the higher education group in other offices also no longer work at the firm.

Numerous market sources said Rockhold joined BofAML as a managing director who will co-manage the central region with Richard Meister. Representatives of the firm did not return calls or emails seeking comment.

Rockhold was recently cut by JPMorgan. He was one of six departures from the firm that included mid- and senior-level public finance bankers. The others retired or took new positions. Rockhold was a managing director and led the Chicago region at JPMorgan.

Rockhold is returning to a firm where he previously served two stints on the banking team. He first worked for Merrill Lynch prior to its merger with Bank of America as head of the Chicago office until he was laid off in a wave of firm-wide cutbacks in 1996. He then joined the former Lehman Brothers. He returned to Merrill in 1999 but left in 2001 when the firm shed its general government group as part of a restructuring.

In other changes in the Chicago office, higher education banker Jason Bormann, a vice president, resigned last month to take a post as treasury manager at the Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority of Illinois which owns Chicago's convention center and Navy Pier.

Sources said Michelle Salomon, a director in the firm's Chicago office, also has departed as well as two other higher education bankers in other offices. They include Jason Russo, a managing director, in the Washington, D.C. office, and Mark Liff, a director in the New York office.

Sources described the departures as cuts but the individuals could not be reached to comment and the firm has refused to comment on the personnel changes and whether any new additions have been made.

Salomon joined Bank of America in 2006 after 11 years at Banc One Capital Markets and then JPMorgan which acquired Banc One. Bormann joined Bank of America eight years ago. He worked with Salomon at JPMorgan.

The higher education group is led by co-heads H. Jay Bellwoar and Chris Cowen. Bellwoar was named a co-head as Bank of America and Merrill Lynch merged in 2009. The firm hired Cowen, who is based in San Francisco, last year. He came from Goldman Sachs.

Bank of America was the top-ranked senior manager last year with 378 deals valued at $44.5 billion. It remained in the lead just ahead of Citi for the first quarter of 2015 leading deals valued at $13.2 billion according to data from Thomson Reuters. It ranked fifth for the first quarter among senior managers of higher education bonds, leading deals valued at $1.35 billion. It finished fourth with 32 deals valued $2.4 billion last year.

In the Midwest for the first quarter, the firm ranked second - behind JPMorgan -- among senior managers in all sectors leading deals valued at $1.65 billion. It finished last year in second place just behind Citi as senior manager on $5.8 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

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