CHICAGO - Charlotte-based Bank of America Corp. on Friday fired public finance manager Peter Hill along with a handful of other bankers, sales, and trading professionals in what sources described as the first wave of dozens of cuts expected as the bank merges its operations with Merrill Lynch & Co.'s tax-exempt bond business.

A spokeswoman at the firm declined to comment on the reports, citing company policy on staff changes. Sources said in addition to Hill, at least two bankers at the director or managing director's level in Merrill's New York and Florida offices were cut along with a few sales, trading, and underwriting professionals in New York City.

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