The bank has laid off 11,000 people in the quarter and 23,000 since the beginning of the year.
Chief executive Vikram Pandit blamed "a difficult environment [and] continued write-downs on our legacy assets" for the losses, but added: "we are making excellent progress on the parts of our business we control, including expense reduction, headcount, and balance sheet and capital management.”
Merrill Lynch announced a third-quarter net loss of $5.2 billion, compared with a net loss of $2.2 billion in the same span last year. The bank saw $3.8 billion in write-downs resulting from losses in the real estate sector, government-sponsored entities and exposure to failed investment banks; the bank did not provide details on these exposures. The bank also experienced write-downs of $5.7 billion resulting from the sale of super-senior ABS CDOs and the closeout of hedges with monoline guarantor counterparties.