The largest banks in the US are quietly laying off thousands of workers and closing hundreds of branches amid a looming financial crisis.
Lenders are cutting headcounts or announced plans to do so, with the exception of JPMorgan Chase, the most profitable US bank.
As higher interest rates hammer the mortgage business, US banks have cut a combined 20,000 positions so far this year, according to company filings.
Despite a two-year hiring boom during the COVID-19 pandemic, the surge subsided after the Federal Reserve began raising interest rates in an attempt to cool an overheated economy.
“Banks are cutting costs where they can because things are really uncertain next year,” research director at Janney Montgomery Scott, Chris Marinac, said.
The bank Job losses could pressure the broader US labor market next year as rising defaults on corporate and consumer loans force the lenders to make deeper cuts.
“They need to find levers to keep earnings from falling further and to free up money for provisions as more loans go bad,” he said.
“By the time we roll into January, you’ll hear a lot of companies talking about this.”
As CBNC reported:
Banks disclose total headcount numbers every quarter. While the aggregate figures mask the hiring and firing going on beneath the surface, they are informative.
The deepest reductions have been at Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs, institutions that are wrestling with revenue declines in key businesses. They each have cut roughly 5% of their workforce so far this year.
At Wells Fargo, job cuts came after the bank announced a strategic shift away from the mortgage business in January. And even though the bank cut 50,000 employees in the past three years as part of CEO Charlie Scharf’s cost-cutting plan, the firm isn’t done shrinking headcount, executives said Friday.
There are “very few parts of the company” that will be spared from cuts, said CFO Mike Santomassimo.
“We still have additional opportunities to reduce headcount,” he told analysts. “Attrition has remained low, which will likely result in additional severance expense for actions in 2024.”
Meanwhile, after several rounds of cuts in the past year, Goldman executives said that they had “right-sized” the bank and don’t expect another mass layoff like the one enacted in January.
But headcount is still headed down at the New York-based bank. Last year, Goldman brought back annual performance reviews where people deemed low performers are cut.
In the coming weeks, the bank will terminate around 1% or 2% of its employees, according to a person with knowledge of the plans.
Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog writes that the banking industry is in “big trouble.”
And this is happening at a time when economic conditions are steadily deteriorating.
In fact, we just learned that the Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators has now fallen for 18 months in a row…
The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the US declined by 0.7 percent in September 2023 to 104.6 (2016=100), following a decline of 0.5 percent in August. The LEI is down 3.4 percent over the six-month period between March and September 2023, an improvement from its 4.6 percent contraction over the previous six months (September 2022 to March 2023).
“The LEI for the US fell again in September, marking a year and a half of consecutive monthly declines since April 2022,” said Justyna Zabinska-La Monica, Senior Manager, Business Cycle Indicators, at The Conference Board. “In September, negative or flat contributions from nine of the index’s ten components more than offset fewer initial claims for unemployment insurance. Although the six-month growth rate in the LEI is somewhat less negative, and the recession signal did not sound, it still signals risk of economic weakness ahead. So far, the US economy has shown considerable resilience despite pressures from rising interest rates and high inflation. Nonetheless, The Conference Board forecasts that this trend will not be sustained for much longer, and a shallow recession is likely in the first half of 2024.”
If things are this bad now, what is going to happen if the hot phase of World War III suddenly erupts in the Middle East?
At this point, nobody can claim that the economy is headed in the right direction.
During the first nine months of this year, the number of commercial Chapter 11 bankruptcies was 61 percent higher than it was during the same period a year ago.
A wide array of US businesses have struggled this year. In the first nine months of 2023, commercial Chapter 11 bankruptcies have soared 61% year over year to 4,553, according to Epiq Bankruptcy, which provides US bankruptcy filing data.
Let that number sink in for a moment.
And we have just learned that sales of previously owned homes have dropped to a level not seen since 2010 when the US “was in the midst of a foreclosure crisis.”
Sales of previously owned homes dropped 2% in September from August to a seasonally adjusted, annualized rate of 3.96 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales were 15.4% lower compared with September 2022.
This is the slowest sales pace since October 2010, during the Great Recession, when the market was in the midst of a foreclosure crisis. As a comparison, just two years ago, when mortgage rates hovered around 3%, home sales were running at a 6.6 million pace. The average rate on the 30-year fixed today is right around 8%, according to Mortgage News Daily.
Speaking of home foreclosures, they are up 34 percent compared to the same time in 2022.
Home foreclosures are on the rise as Americans continue to grapple with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.
That is according to a new report published by real estate data provider ATTOM, which found that foreclosure filings – which includes default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – surged 28% in the third quarter to 124,539.
Foreclosures are up 34% from the same time one year ago.
A new economic crisis is here.
And the truth is that it is going to get a whole lot worse.
So even though things are not great now, enjoy these last few days of relative stability while you still can, because war in the Middle East will soon plunge the entire global economy into a state of great turmoil.