Giant U.S. Banks Hire Most Workers Since 2011 After Tax Cuts

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(Bloomberg) -- Three of the biggest U.S. banks boosted their combined workforce in the first quarter by the most in almost seven years as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. added 4,200 employees and Citigroup Inc. stopped cutting workers.

The growth spurt -- revealed as the trio reported earnings on Friday -- was their biggest since the third quarter of 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It followed an overhaul of the U.S. tax system that benefited banks more than many other industries. The three banks now employ more than 728,000 people.

The hiring is a sign that tax cuts may ease some of the longstanding pressure on U.S. financial firms to whittle costs to shore up profitability. Still, the picture becomes more nuanced when looking at the three banks individually:

  • Wells Fargo, which accounted for most of the hiring, said on Friday that it plans to shut 300 branches this year. That’s up from the 250 closures that the San Francisco-based bank previously targeted.
  • At JPMorgan, which added the rest, Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon began predicting long before the tax cuts passed that his firm’s headcount would grow for years to come. Still, he’s said more recently that the tax cuts will help.
  • And Citigroup contributed mostly by doing nothing. It has reduced its workforce -- sometimes by selling units -- in all but a few quarters since 2011. It took a rare break as 2018 began.

Three other big U.S. banks -- Bank of America Corp., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley -- are set to report their quarterly results and headcounts next week.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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