HSBC, Europe's largest bank, is firing people in Europe and the U.S., and hiring people elsewhere.
With profits from its Asian and Latin American businesses rising, the bank plans to hire up to 4,000 people a year in emerging markets, chief executive Stuart Gulliver said Monday, according to Bloomberg. Meanwhile, HSBC has been cutting jobs in countries including the United States and the United Kingdom, with plans to eliminate 30,000 jobs worldwide by the end of 2013.
Three years after the financial crisis, which prompted the world's largest banks to lay off significant portions of their workforces, executives are again moving to trim payrolls in an attempt to get costs in line with sometimes-disappointing revenues. Manifold risks are on the horizon, bank employees say: The debt crisis among nations that share the euro has European banks on edge; the prospect of stricter regulations, many of which have yet to be implemented, has some financiers fearing that lucrative businesses might be curtailed.
At HSBC, the future seems brightest in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. In the first half of the year, the bank got 76 percent of its profit from those regions, up from 64 percent during the same period last year, according to its Monday earnings statement. The North American business contributed just over 5 percent.
Profit from Europe made up nearly 19 percent of the total so far this year, down from nearly 32 percent during the same period last year. And so, like numerous other corporations, the bank is going where the growth is.
"We expect continued growth in the rest of Asia-Pacific and Latin America and take comfort from the focus of the authorities on managing inflationary pressures," the bank said in its earnings report. "In the developed world, growth in the US and Europe is likely to remain sluggish as long as the impact of high debt levels and government budget cuts weigh on economic activity."
The bank's job cuts will hit "support staff where we believe we have created an unnecessary bureaucracy," chief executive Gulliver said, according to Bloomberg News.
In paring its payroll, HSBC is not alone. The Swiss banks Credit Suisse and UBS have reportedly laid plans to cut thousands of jobs, and Wall Street titans Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have announced plans to eliminate hundreds of employees.
In several cases, layoffs have already begun. Barclays Capital laid off workers in January and in June, including first-year analysts hired last year straight out of college, The Huffington Post reported. Morgan Stanley has begun firing people from its retail brokerage, HuffPost learned.
HSBC is also getting rid of more than 40 percent of its branch locations in the U.S., selling many to First Niagara Financial Group, the bank said Sunday. The bulk of those soon-to-be-sold branches are in upstate New York, where HSBC is affectionately known as "Holy Sh*t, Buffalo's Cold."
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