JPMorgan to slash hundreds of jobs across its consumer unit

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JPMorgan Chase plans to dismiss several hundred workers from its consumer unit as the lender seeks to rein in costs, according to people briefed on the matter.

The biggest U.S. bank intends to notify employees on Feb. 6 and cuts will be scattered across the division, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing personnel decisions. The retail unit, which houses the deposit, credit card, home loan and auto-lending businesses, contributes almost half of the firm's revenue.

Banks around the world have cut thousands of jobs as they slash costs to weather a slowing economy and adapt to shifts in consumer behavior and in digital technology. At JPMorgan, the reductions are part of a broader review of operations as customers increasingly access banking services online or through mobile apps.

A JPMorgan spokeswoman declined to comment. The planned cuts represent about 1% of employees in the unit, and workers will be given the chance to apply for other roles in the firm, another person said.

Expense management has been an area of intense focus under co-President Gordon Smith, who leads the consumer bank. JPMorgan cut about 7,000 operations jobs from the unit in the four years through 2018, replacing some of them with roles for technologists, according to a presentation last February. Smith said at the time that reductions would continue and that "technology and digital and mobile people are building the company for the future."

Headcount in the unit fell 2% to 127,137 at the end of last year, the lowest since 2015, according to the New York-based bank's latest quarterly report.
Self Service

JPMorgan has poured billions of dollars into technology to make it easier for customers to access services without the help of traditional workers. More than 80% of transactions in the consumer bank were completed through so-called self-service channels in 2018, according to the presentation last year. The bank said in February it expects its technology investments from 2018 to generate more than $1 billion of annual run-rate savings for the retail unit over five years.

At the same time, JPMorgan has been opening up hundreds of branches in new states to attract customers and boost lending — even as its total count has slipped. Retail locations fell to less than 5,000 last year for the first time since before JPMorgan took over Washington Mutual Inc.'s banking operations during the height of the last financial crisis.

The latest moves are in line with a broader focus on cutting costs and managing risk across the firm amid a growing number of potential pitfalls in the economy.

JPMorgan has been shrinking its workforce in New York and building up its employee presence in lower-cost locations such as Plano, Tex., Columbus, Ohio, and Wilmington, Del. It's also considering selling its investment banking building at 383 Madison Ave. as part of a facilities review taking place while the bank constructs a new headquarters in Manhattan.

The company plans to hosts an investor day next month, when it's expected to provide strategy details and its outlook for expenses and revenue for the year.

Bloomberg News
Consumer banking Layoffs JPMorgan Chase