One after another, major financial firms are trimming their payrolls. In first-quarter earnings announcements this month, Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley revealed that they have slashed more than 31,000 jobs, or 3.5 percent of their combined workforce, in the past year. For three of those banks, it was the second straight year of cutbacks. And the pattern is being repeated at banks around the world.
Layoffs in the depths of the financial crisis were to be expected. But four years later, and at a time when many banks are reporting higher or even record earnings, the cuts are unsettling to an entire industry.
The losses are an unwelcome reminder of the meltdown and its lingering effects. A slow, halting recovery has kept loan demand in check. Low interest rates are crimping profits from lending. New regulations have extinguished old sources of revenue, and compliance is expensive. The cuts also reflect advances in technology that have made bank tellers more expendable.
Steven Mann, chairman of the finance department at the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business, says many of his students have given up on banking jobs.
“In 2005, 2006, 2007, I’d ask, ‘Do you want to go work at a bank?’ and the answer was always yes,” he says. “Now the answer is no one. They want to be in the treasury department of General Electric.”
The industry’s rhythm now veers more toward cost cutting than freewheeling. Those higher earnings? They’re not because business is gangbusters. They’re because banks have been forced to make do with less.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor
Wall Street’s cost cuts and dismissals, which have helped erase more than 300,000 financial- industry jobs in the past two years, are far from over. Citigroup Inc. (C)’s announcement yesterday of plans to eliminate 11,000 positions in units spanning equities trading to consumer banking is the latest sign of strain from a market slowdown, stiffer … Continue reading »
New York’s biggest investment houses are shifting jobs out of the area and expanding in cheaper locales in the United States, threatening the vast middle tier of positions that form the backbone of employment on Wall Street. The shift comes even as banks consider deeper staff cuts here, which could undermine the state and city … Continue reading »
A shocking 3000 jobs have been lost in Australia’s finance industry in the first four months of the year according to the National Secretary of the Financial Services Union. Though the majority of these jobs were lost in the first six weeks of the year, with the announcement from the Australia & New Zealand Banking … Continue reading »
Banking giant HSBC is this week expected to announce some 2,000 UK job cuts as part of a restructuring of its global business. The axe is expected to fall on nearly 4% of the bank’s 52,000-strong UK workforce in a drive to slash costs and help the business react to the tougher climate in the … Continue reading »
Roland Berger Strategy, one of the world’s leading consulting firms, said the global investment banking sector would need another 40,000 job cuts to restore sustainable economics. The sector has already stepped up restructuring programmes, reduced headcount by about 15,000 since mid-2011 and has announced another 25,000 job cuts. According to a report issued by the … Continue reading »
Major banks have announced about 160,000 job cuts since early last year and with more layoffs to come as the industry restructures, many will leave the shrinking sector for good as redundancies outpace new hires by roughly two to one. A Reuters analysis of job cuts announced by 29 major banks showed the layoffs were … Continue reading »
Here are big banks that are or could be planning big layoffs. Bank of America (NYSE:BAC): On Wednesday, BofA announced its intention to cut costs by $3 billion annually in its investment-banking, commercial-banking and wealth-management units. These cuts will happen by 2015. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS): The mega bank also announced Wednesday its plans to cut …Continue reading »
Investment banks and brokerages across Asia have launched a sweeping round of job cuts as Europe’s debt crisis and China’s economic slowdown bite into the region’s financial activity. Speaking to bankers and other industry sources, Reuters was able to confirm at least 50 people were let go in the past three weeks, a cull that … Continue reading »
The scars of Greece’s debt crisis were laid bare in heavy losses from a string of European banks on Thursday, and bosses warned the region’s precarious finances would continue to threaten economic growth and earnings. From France to Germany, Britain to Belgium, four of the region’s biggest banks lined up to reveal they lost more … Continue reading »