When released from prison, many felons return to society full of hopes and dreams. They hope to be able to get back on track career and relationship-wise.
Unfortunately, it becomes difficult to not only find gainful employment but also access to reasonable housing and social assistance. Recidivism rates often remain high because of these challenges.
This should however not discourage a felon. For some, there were hopes and potential to succeed in the professional financial sector. This brings us to the question: does Bank of America hire Felons?
Bank of America (BofA) would be of special interest to felons with an aptitude for financial services. It is amongst the Big Four banking institutions in the country with over 136,000 employees in the U.S.
It has over 6,500 retail branches with a presence in 32 states. Its operations are channeled toward three major sectors. These include global consumer and small business banking, global wealth and investment management, and global corporate and investment banking.
The fast-paced and competitive nature of the financial services sector is something many people thrive in. There are those with the smarts to get in the game and succeed in such a diverse and complex environment.
From bank teller to corporate asset manager, the range of jobs can be quite wide. There are multiple specializations and professional certifications to be acquired. Many can be pursued through self-study successfully.
Meeting the requirements for professional organizations like the American Bankers Association or American Accounting Association can be difficult. Not all felons may succeed. This is mostly due to the good moral character expected of those who join their ranks.
Thankfully, even without professional certification, one can still establish a good career in finance. Let’s look at whether a felon can secure employment at this major banking provider.
Does Bank of America Hire Felons?
Just as with any other heavily-regulated financial institution, Bank of America has to be careful when hiring. If they make a mistake, they may be held liable for any losses. Not to mention the damage it can do to their reputation.
That said, the company does have a policy of not asking about convictions at the application stage. This is in line with the Ban-the-Box initiative, which BofA has not signed up for.
Nor are they part of the Fair Chances Business Pledge. This initiative prohibits employers from querying the criminal history of a candidate until they have been assessed for a job.
As such, many felons may feel encouraged to make a try here. However, it is important to know that BofA does carry out background checks. These investigations are thorough and drug screening included.
Credit checks are also conducted due to the nature of the jobs. This is to check on the financial fitness of a candidate.
They will also probe your resume, confirming work history and verifying references. Do not attempt to falsify these details as you will likely be found out.
The company has not come out clearly on whether they hire felons, or have before. So for those asking: does Bank of America hire convicted felons? – the answer is likely to be no.
As said, this is a heavily regulated industry and it would be risky to hire someone with a criminal past. Some crimes are more likely than others to affect hiring. Those convicted of violent crimes, fraud, larceny, money-laundering, and theft are least desirable.
Anecdotal evidence suggests those with Bank of America background check misdemeanors may not be as badly off. Especially if the offenses were minor. However, the hiring decision would be on a case-to-case basis.
What Type of Job Can a Felon Do at Bank of America?
Majority of the positions at banks involve handling the money of clients and organizations. These are positions of trust and as such tend to disqualify felons.
There is a lack of integrity demonstrated by the commission of the crime. It indicates a likelihood of the same behavior being repeated.
It is a contravention of Section 19 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act. This is a regulation that prohibits engaging employees who have committed criminal offenses involving breach of trust.
Minor offenses like traffic offenses are unlikely to affect hiring chances. Many current and former employees and recruiters for BofA confirm this. In such cases, it would be best to simply explain what happened and how you are a better person now.
For those with misdemeanors, there does not appear to be any restriction on the types of jobs they can access. This is as long as the offense is not a Section 19 violation. From entry-level sales representative to hedge fund manager, the field is wide open.
As long as you can fulfill the requirements of the job, there are no restrictions. With suitable skills and experience, you can apply and compete alongside others for whatever position.
Given that the simple answer to the question – does Bank of America hire felons? – is no, what next?
How to Apply
One of the best pieces of advice felons are given when trying to find work is to keep at it. Apply to as many jobs as you think you are qualified for, even when the odds are against you. In the financial services sector, the odds are certainly low, but not impossible.
Thankfully, with such large institutions as BofA, many low-level entry positions are less scrutinized. It may be best to aim for these with hopes of getting your foot in the door. Here is what you need to do to get things started.
1. Create an account
Visit the careers page for BofA and create an account. This is a free service that provides a direct link to all work opportunities at the bank.
Not only does it provide a listing of available jobs, but it also provides helpful information. This includes the type of employees they look for and how the hiring process works.
2. Explore opportunities
The site lists all available openings. You can narrow your search according to location or keyword. The keyword can relate to the job title or description. Results are filtered based on relevance but can be modified to career area or company division.
3. Make an application
With a job that is a good fit for your profile, go ahead and click on the apply button. You can then upload your resume and fill out the online form. Applications can only be made via the bank’s portal.
A talent acquisition representative will contact you if selected for an interview. They will take you through the rest of the hiring process.
Steps That Will Help You Get Hired at Bank of America
1. Build A Good Resume
Your resume is a reflection of you on paper. It must assure the hiring manager that you are an ideal fit for the job. When writing or revising your resume, compare it with the job’s requirements.
Your skills and experience should strongly tally with what BofA is looking for. Where possible, but not so obviously, make use of words that describe responsibilities in the advert.
Where you lack the academics, skills, and experience, play up your character strengths. Use descriptions like quick learner, detail-oriented, and team player.
2. Do Background Research
BofA has a very detailed careers website. Not only do they list jobs available across the country, but they also provide a helpful FAQ section. Here you can learn a lot about the application and interview process.
They even provide sample questions and scenarios posed in previous interviews. You can use these to practice your interview skills and frame the answers you will give.
Take your time to review the positions available and pick out those that best match your resume. This will improve your chances of getting to the interview stage.
3. Acquire More Skills and Experience
One of the ways to make yourself the best candidate for the job is to acquire more professional skills.
There are many certifications you can go for that will help beef up your resume. You can also work on adding to your undergraduate degree with a master’s degree.
Work experience in banking or other financial sectors can also be helpful. Ideally, it should tally with the type of job you are aiming for. If you are applying to work as a teller, you should have experience dealing with clients on financial matters.
4. Record Expungement
Depending on state law, you may be able to get your criminal records expunged. That means with a normal check, the bank should not be able to discover your convictions.
However, given that they make use of dedicated investigators this may not solve the problem alone. You will still need to account for the gaps in your work history that correspond to your period of incarceration.
Does Bank of America Run a Background Check?
Absolutely yes. In compliance with FDIA, they must ensure their employees have not engaged in criminal activities. These include involvement in dishonesty, breach of trust or money laundering.
The reputation and trust in their organization depend on this. BofA investigators are said to be thorough when delving into multiple aspects of your life. A criminal background check is just the beginning.
They will also check out all your references, and confirm all the details of your work history. Even with that part-time job you had when younger, they will definitely put in a call.
This can be a problem for felons who have had their records expunged. A gap will likely appear in their work history from when they were incarcerated.
Financial fitness is another concern for banks. Poor credit scores and excessive debt can work against a candidate.
Being unable to manage your personal finances can reflect poorly on you. It means you may be as bad in handling other finances. Being in debt may also increase the temptation to embezzle funds.
In keeping with certain state laws, BofA may only be able to go as far as seven years back. Certain states also restrict information on cases where the verdict was not guilty. You may need to check state laws to learn what they will discover.
With their resources, however, more may be discovered with an intensive investigation. This is especially likely with higher-level and paying positions.
States like Connecticut, Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio, and Vermont do not have restrictions. They provide full records that also include not guilty verdicts.
Also, know that drug testing is a possibility. Testimonials from past and current employees are mixed. It may likely depend on the hiring manager. Be prepared for such an eventuality either way.
Bank of America does set a high standard when it comes to background checks. The only way to possibly get past this is to have your records expunged. And then hope they do not probe too deeply into work history gaps.
It can be a tricky affair for a felon, so expect the worst. There are no felons that have reported being hired so chances are quite slim.
If, however, they were misdemeanors and do not relate to the nature of the job, then it may not count. Many current and past employees have confirmed being hired even with DUIs to their name.
In such cases, honesty may be the best policy. Being forthcoming of such mistakes before they carry out the background check can help reassure them of your integrity.
With good pay and benefits, flexible work schedule, diversity and work-life balance, BofA is certainly a top employer. If you strongly feel a financial services career is for you, make a try for it here. Apply the hiring tips mentioned above and you may just score the job of a lifetime.