Global Banks Cut Jobs Fastest Since 2008 Amid Revenue Squeeze

Global Banks Poised to Cut 101,000 Jobs
A tram drives by an HSBC Holdings Plc advertisement in Hong Kong on July 30, 2011. Photographer: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg

The biggest global banks are cutting jobs at the fastest rate since 2008 as a weak U.S. economy squeezes revenue, regulators push firms to hold more capital and companies restructure businesses to improve profitability.

The 50 largest banks, including HSBC Holdings Plc, Credit Suisse Group AG and Bank of America Corp., disclosed plans for almost 60,000 reductions since Jan. 1, according to company statements and data compiled by Bloomberg Industries. At that pace, they’ll cut more than 101,000 jobs this year -- the most since 192,000 positions were targeted in 2008 amid loan losses, a global credit crunch and unprecedented government bailouts.

HSBC’s aim to shed 30,000 workers, unveiled by the London-based firm on Aug. 1, was the single biggest job-cutting announcement since Bank of America said in December 2008 that it would eliminate as many as 35,000 positions, the data show.

Persistent low interest rates, stagnant loan growth and new rules for debit cards will crimp U.S. bank earnings this year. Global regulators, seeking to avoid a repeat of the financial crisis and blunt the impact of potential European sovereign debt defaults, are pushing banks to hold more capital. Firms including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are seeking to pare costs in some countries while expanding in faster-growing economies, such as China, India and Brazil.

The following table lists global banks, including those outside the 50 largest, that have announced at least 500 job cuts so far this year, as well as their total employees as of Dec. 31, according to Bloomberg data. For companies that disclosed a range of reductions, the table shows the top limit. Many reductions are being made over months or years, and some firms have said they are simultaneously hiring in other areas.

Bank                  Job Cuts     Total Headcount    Cuts as
                      Announced    as of Dec. 31      % of
                      in 2011                         Dec. 31
                                                      Headcount

HSBC Holdings Plc,    30,000       295,061            10%
U.K.

Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, 3,000 102,000 2.9% Italy

Lloyds Banking Group 16,800 104,000 16% Plc, U.K. Banca Monte dei 2,500 31,400 8% Paschi di Siena SpA, Italy Credit Suisse Group 2,025 50,100 4% AG, Switzerland Allied Irish Banks 2,000 14,255 14% Plc, Ireland

Barclays Plc, U.K. 3,000 147,500 2%

Bank of America 1,575 286,951 0.5% Corp., U.S.

Banco Popolare SC, 1,120 20,000 5.6% Italy

Unione di Banche 1,000 19,700 5.1% Italiane ScpA, Italy Goldman Sachs 1,000 35,700 2.8% Group Inc., U.S. Grupo Financiero 1,000 25,000* 4% Banorte SAB, Mexico Synovus Financial 850 6,109 13.9% Corp., U.S. State Street Corp., 850 28,670 3% U.S. UniCredit SpA, Italy 700 160,000 0.4% Erste Group Bank AG, 550 50,272 1.1% Austria American Express 550 61,000 0.9% Co., U.S. UBS AG, Switzerland 500 64,617 0.8% * Headcount reflects Grupo Financiero Banorte’s acquisition of Ixe Grupo Financiero SAB, which was completed in April.
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