Crisis prompts Credit Suisse, HSBC to axe bank jobs

Crisis prompts Credit Suisse, HSBC to axe bank jobs

Zurich: Switzerland’s Credit Suisse AG and Britain’s HSBC Holdings Plc are axing hundreds of banking jobs as the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression continues to bite.

The cuts are the latest in a wave of job losses in which around 90,000 jobs have been axed at major global banks since September. Of these, more than 50,000 were at US bank Citigroup.

Credit Suisse said that the bank was cutting 650 jobs, equivalent to roughly 3% of its investment banking workforce of about 21,300.

“The cuts will be made mainly in investment banking," a spokesman for the Swiss bank said.

The bank, which employed around 50,000 people globally at the end of September, has already slashed 1,800 jobs this year.

HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank, said it was cutting 500 jobs at its UK banking business following a review of the business. The bank employs 58,000 people in Britain.

“We deeply regret taking this step, but we consider it essential to ensure our business is operating as efficiently as possible and that we are best placed to deal with the economic downturn and maintain our levels of customer service," HSBC’s UK Managing Director Paul Thurston said.

Shares in Credit Suisse were 1.8% lower at 0925 GMT and HSBC shares were down 3%, against a 1.85% fall in the DJ Stoxx European banking index.

Job Cull

Losses at Credit Suisse’s investment banking division dragged the Swiss bank into a loss in the third quarter and analysts expect the fourth quarter to be another difficult one.

Credit Suisse had already cut 500 jobs in investment banking in October. Direct competitor UBS, whose foray into risky US assets has cost it $49 billion in writedowns, announced in October it would get rid of nearly 2,000 jobs.

Credit Suisse’s spokesman did not comment on which specific jobs would be shed nor the time frame for the measures.

“However, usually these cuts are made very fast," he said.

Other leading banks have had to shrink their workforce in the last quarter as the financial crisis deepened and major economies were predicted to fall into an economic recession.

Britain’s Barclays said in October it would lay off 3,000 people and may have to cut another 50 jobs, a source close to the bank said.

In Germany, Commerzbank announced in September 9,000 job cuts while rival Deutsche Bank is expected to axe 900 jobs, a source with knowledge of the plan said last month.