CHICAGO - More than a dozen professionals were cut from the ranks of Bank of America Corp. and Merrill Lynch & Co.'s municipal groups in recent days as the two firms continue to merge their businesses amid ongoing economic turmoil and pressure to turn a profit this year.

The majority of bankers let go were from the Banc of America Securities LLC broker-dealer team and included at least three managing directors - Erin Gore, the New York-based co-head of the education and nonprofit group; Todd Bleakney, who ran the firm's short-term desk in its Charlotte headquarters; and Scott Verch, who managed derivatives products in the Charlotte office. Sources said Ken Schneider, a vice president, was also cut.

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