*Update: Bank of America spokesman Joseph Goode said the event, called “Leadership on the Links,” was to build relationships with clients and was totally legitimate.
Goode said BofA hosted approximately 70 commercial and ultra-high net worth clients and client managers as part of an ongoing program started in 2006.
Goode said “client hospitality can continue to be hosted in a perfectly appropriate manner that advances our business objectives and drives revenue growth,” adding that the “return on investment well exceeds the associated expense” for such events. Goode declined to say how much the event cost.
Goode added says the bank wasn’t hiding anything. “This event was not designed to increase awareness for the Bank of America brand, therefore we did not invest in any on-site signage or branding.”
Bank of America held a golf outing for employees Monday at Trump International Golf Club in Palm Beach, Florida despite previous promises to “eliminate programs that do not directly impact our ability to serve our clients, customers and communities.”
The golf day was organised by IMG World, an event planner, and featured a clinic by PGA pro Curtis Strange.
That much is confirmed from what an anonymous tipster told us late yesterday:
BofA had [a] golf outing at Trump International in Palm Beach, FL on Monday. The ticket for the outing likely exceeded $100K for the one day event that included a clinic by Curtis Strange. The interesting part is that they went well out of their way to keep this thing on the DL with respect to the BofA name.
Bill O’Connor, Director of Club Operations at Trump, tells us that B of A rented the golf club on Monday, declining to comment because “we gave them the property and that’s it.”
IMG World confirmed there was indeed a clinic on Monday, but wasn’t immediately available for further comment.
Bank of America didn’t immediately respond to a voice mail and email requesting information.
Again, it’s unclear the purpose or cost of the trip — it could be legitimate — but we’ll let you know as we learn more. It can be very important for companies to hold social events and much of the hysteria over this kind of thing is misplaced. Contact us with further information at [email protected].
But if it was indeed a pleasure outing, the event contradicts previous B of A pledges. In February, Bank of America said it had canceled all employee incentive trips. “Given the current economic and business environment – and to further align our interests with those of our shareholders – we are making some difficult decisions to reduce or eliminate programs that do not directly impact our ability to serve our clients, customers and communities,” Bank of America spokeswoman Kelly Sapp said in an e-mail, as reported by CBS.
Taxpayers have committed $45 billion to B of A as part of the federal financial bailout, but none of the funds have yet been returned.