Nation & World

Banks begin biggest job cuts since 2015

More than 50 have announced plans to cut a combined 77,780 jobs

Morgan Stanley's CEO says the financial institution will trim about 2 percent of the bank's workforce. (Associated Press
Morgan Stanley’s CEO says the financial institution will trim about 2 percent of the bank’s workforce. (Associated Press)

Banks around the world are unveiling the biggest round of job cuts in four years as they slash costs to weather a slowing economy and adapt to digital technology.

This year, more than 50 lenders have announced plans to cut a combined 77,780 jobs — the most since 91,448 in 2015 — according to filings by the companies and labor unions.

Banks in Europe, which face the added burden of negative interest rates for years to come, account for almost 82 percent of the total.

The 2019 cuts bring the total for the past six years to more than 425,000. In fact, the actual amount probably is higher because many banks eliminate staff without disclosing their plans.

Morgan Stanley is the latest financial institution to make a year-end efficiency push, cutting about 1,500 jobs, according to people familiar with the matter. CEO James Gorman has said the cuts account for about 2 percent of the bank’s workforce.

This year’s figures also underscore the weakness of European banks as the region’s export-oriented economy confronts international trade disputes while negative interest rates eat further into lending revenue.

Unlike in the United States, where government programs and rising rates helped lenders rebound quickly after the financial crisis, banks in Europe still are struggling to regain their footing. Many are firing staff and selling businesses to shore up profitability.

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