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Bank of America to give employees stock awards -memo

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By Elizabeth Dilts Marshall and Mehnaz Yasmin

(Reuters) - Bank of America Corp said on Tuesday that it will give around 97% of its employees special compensation awards, most of which will be delivered in restricted stock units, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.

The total value of the awards is around $1 billion, reflecting the 47% increase in Bank of America's stock price last year, bank Chief Executive Brian Moynihan wrote in the note to employees.

"For this year, the estimated value of these awards is multiple times higher than the prior cash awards," Moynihan wrote. This is the fifth year the bank has issued the compensation awards.

The awards will go out to eligible bank employees earning annual total compensation of $500,000 or less. Employees will receive between 65 and 600 restricted units of Bank of America stock, based on compensation, which will begin to vest next year.

Restricted stock units are stock-based compensation that are transferable only when certain conditions are met.

Separately, some part-time employees and others who work in certain international locations will receive cash awards of $750, or the local currency equivalent, according to the memo.

This is the first year the bank issued the stock awards to employees making under $100,000, and it follows the bank's commitment last year to raise its hourly minimum wage for employees to $25 by 2025.

The stock awards come amid bonus season at the big banks, some of which have rewarded employees handsomely in a bid to retain talent amid cutthroat competition.

Goldman Sachs increased its annual bonus pool for top-performing investment bankers by 40% to 50%, while JPMorgan Chase increased it by 30% to 40%, Reuters reported earlier in January.

(Reporting by Mehnaz Yasmin in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath and Sandra Maler)

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