It has been reported that consumer banks across the United States are continuing to make cuts to staffing levels and trim down branches in a bid to try and slash costs. A number of banks have revealed that they now have considerably fewer staff than twelve months ago and some officials believe that this trend will continue for a number of reasons, including the availability of enhanced technology that is able to replace the need for employees such as counter staff at branches or customer service advisors.
A number of tech advancements have had an effect on staff level requirements for consumer banks. It was recently announced that Chase would be upgrading all ATMs this year, which will enable customers to withdraw larger amounts from ATMS and to withdraw custom amounts rather than having to take money out in multiples of $20. This will further impact on the need for customers to go to the counter at their local branch. Apps and smartphone technology are also impacting on the need for as many tellers and customer service staff, with many consumers now benefitting from online banking and smart payment methods.
Major banks lead the way
Two major banks are leading the way at present when it comes to job cuts and trimming of operations, and this is the Bank of America and Citigroup. Between the two of them, these banks both cut employee numbers by at least 4 percent last year as well as reducing the number of branches. JPMorgan Chase has also reported that the number of employees it has is around 6,700 fewer than twelve months ago. Its branch numbers fell by more than 3 percent, with many of the cuts being made in areas such as customer service departments, investment banking, and consumer banking divisions.
The figures also showed that Bank of America now has 129 fewer financial centers in operation compared to a year ago while Citigroup has around 4 percent fewer branches compared to twelve months earlier. The cutbacks are not just a sign of our increasing move into the digital age according to experts. Banks are looking at various ways to try and reduce costs by as much as possible, which is naturally having an impact on staffing and branch numbers. In addition, some are said to be focusing their attention on other departments such as Citigroup, which has actually increased resources in its compliance departments.