BofA combines investment bank divisions

Customers use ATM machines inside of a Bank of America branch in Times Square in New York March 8, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

LONDON (Reuters) - Bank of America Merrill Lynch BAC.N has merged its corporate and investment banking arms in a restructuring that has propelled top European banker Christian Meissner to one of three senior jobs in the unit.

Meissner, who ran investment banking in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, will become co-head of the merged global business alongside Paul Donofrio and Michael Rubinoff, according to a memo seen by Reuters.

The change, announced internally by global banking and markets head Tom Montag, comes as the bank continues to hire more aggressively than many rivals, particularly in Europe.

The new structure will allow more “efficient distribution of products through all our client coverage channels,” Montag said.

Donofrio was formerly solely responsible for the U.S. bank’s corporate banking division and will be in charge of products. These include global capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, loans, leasing and treasury services.

Rubinoff was co-head of global investment banking. Along with Meissner, who is based in London and joined a year ago from Nomura, he will be in charge of strategy and direction in corporate and investment banking and also lead M&A.

All three will report to Montag. So too will Purna Saggurti, who ran investment banking globally with Rubinoff and will become chairman of the combined business.

BofA declined to comment.

Net income in the global banking and markets division fell nearly 19 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to a year ago, as weaker trading revenues offset a rise in investment banking fees, BofA reported last week.

Reporting by Sarah White; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter