More job cuts at banks expected in 2015, mostly in Europe

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - The bloodletting at banks that started during the 2008 financial crisis isn't letting up.

That's the view of 83 per cent of respondents to a quarterly Bloomberg Global Poll, who said the banking industry will continue cutting jobs this year.

The reductions will affect firms around the world, 61 per cent said, while 21 per cent said most cuts will be in Europe and 1 per cent said they'd be concentrated in the U.S. Only 8 per cent expected banks to add jobs this year.

In a separate question, 78 per cent of respondents said they didn't expect the largest banks to break up as a result of tougher regulations penalizing them for size and complexity.

"Sharp market moves, slow economic recovery, the regulatory burden - all these are restricting banks' operations," said Mr Daniel Baker, a London-based analyst at Informa Global Markets and a poll respondent. "We'll see more job cuts in the sector until things stabilize."

Financial firms are struggling to regain their footing years after a U.S. housing-market collapse was followed by a European sovereign-debt crisis. A weak global recovery and regulations designed to prevent another crisis have dented profitability at the largest firms.

Four of the biggest US and British banks have reduced total employment by almost 350,000 since the beginning of 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

European banks already have announced job cuts this year. London-based Standard Chartered said it would eliminate 4,000 consumer-banking positions. Deutsche Bank, based in Frankfurt, is weighing staff reductions and asset sales as part of a strategic review, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Citigroup has cut more jobs than any other bank, reducing head count by 133,000 in the past seven years.

Most European lenders started cutting after 2010, when the euro area's existence came into question as failing lenders and governments rescuing them got caught in a dangerous spiral.

The poll of 481 investors, analysts and traders who are Bloomberg customers was conducted on Jan 14 to Jan 15. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.