BBVA Eliminates 24 Banking Jobs in New York, Transfers 40

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, Spain’s second-biggest bank, has eliminated 24 banking jobs from its New York office and has offered to transfer 40 others to Houston as it reduces its workforce in the U.S.

BBVA, as the Spanish lender based in Bilbao is known, is cutting its investment banking workforce in New York, a spokeswoman for the bank said yesterday, asking not to be named in line with company policy. The bankers let go included members of its mergers and acquisitions team, said four other people, who asked not to be named as they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The job cuts follow the recent departure of Sandy Salgado, former head of corporate and investment banking in New York, according to two of the people. BBVA, which had almost 300 bankers in that division in the city at the end of last year, has now split Salgado’s role, naming Juan Pablo Jimeno as head of global markets USA, and David Powell as head of global clients, one of the people said.

BBVA joins banks around the world that are reducing their workforce. The Spanish bank saw its credit rating downgraded three times last year by Standard & Poor’s from A+ to BBB-, one step above junk, causing the bank to lose business, two of the people said.

Earnings Decline

Activity at BBVA’s corporate and investment banking division has been declining as lending fell 13 percent in the first nine months of last year from the same period of 2011 and customer funds dropped 26 percent. Revenue for the unit from the U.S. fell 10 percent in the period, the lender said.

BBVA has also seen an earnings decline as it increases bad-loan charges to comply with government orders to recognize losses stemming from the property market crash. The lender is scheduled to report fourth-quarter results on Feb. 1.

Bad loans, as a proportion of total lending at Spanish banks, jumped to a record 11.4 percent in November, a sign of the challenges still facing the country’s banks even as their shares and bonds rally.

Nine major global banks -- Deutsche Bank AG, Barclays Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America, Citigroup Inc., UBS AG, Credit Suisse Group AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley -- announced more than 30,000 job cuts in the first nine months of last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In December 2011, BBVA announced 150 job cuts at its wholesale banking division as it trimmed staffing in line with reduced business levels.

BBVA shares rose 0.2 percent to 7.79 euros at 1:36 p.m. in Madrid today, valuing the bank at 42.5 billion euros.

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