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Stressing over Your Bank’s Stress Test

Congratulations, bankers (aside from Ally Financial)! You passed!

The Federal Reserve’s latest great unveiling of which banks would be hurt most during a big economic downturn showed 17 of 18 passed with varying degrees of success.

For shareholders of most of these banks, this is great news. They will probably get paid higher dividends and see their shares rise. For employees, not so much.

In fact, if anything, the stress tests showed that if you work at a bank with a big trading business, you are just as much at risk of losing your job as you were before your bank passed. The Fed penalized those banks with riskier business like trading (listen up, people at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley), believing that during a big downturn they would be more at risk of failing than other, more boring institutions like State Street and Keycorp, which mainly make loans.

What does this tell you? Banking is getting back to being like it was before the 1999 death of the Glass-Steagall Act, which had placed a divide between investment banking and commercial banking. During those olden golden days, if you worked at a commercial bank, you got paid a whole lot less, but your job was more secure.

Investment bankers made a lot of dough – but were often out on the street by the time they hit 40.

Perhaps the Fed is bringing us all back to the future.

MDs Must Go (eFinancialCareers)

Goldman Sachs folks aren’t alone in their suffering. Some 20% of senior staff must be canned if investment banks are to maintain returns, recruiters said after a recent forum.

Not very Scottish (Guardian) 

Royal Bank of Scotland Chief Executive Stephen Hester is being paid a $1.05 million bonus. Who said the Scots were frugal?

Passing Grade (300 Hours)

You are most likely to pass the CFA exams if you have both worked in finance and been educated in finance, but you still have a fair chance if you’ve done neither.

Barclays’ Lucky Five (Bloomberg)

The British bank that is touting austerity paid five employees a total of more than $7.5 million each for last year’s work, more than twice what Chief Executive Antony Jenkins got. Tell us who they are. Please.

Life after Swiss (Bloomberg)

Royal Bank of Canada is trying to hire Steve Oplinger, the former co-head of U.S. high-yield sales at Credit Suisse Group. He reportedly left CS in January over a pay dispute.

Cold Water (Reuters)

Way to go, Felix. Noted columnist finds a way to find gloom in U.S. unemployment figures he calls “unambiguously positive.” Apparently not.

Too Many Skills (MarketWatch)

Can LinkedIn’s users really be that talented? Recruiters complain everyone is over-endorsed. Apparently, even badminton is a job skill.

Buzz Around the Office

A Familiar Face (Yahoo)

An Applebee’s waitress who lost her wallet had to cancel her bank account after learning that someone had been cashing checks in her name. She busted the perpetrator weeks later after asking a group of patrons for ID, only to have one of the women hand over her own missing driver’s license.

List of the Day: Staying Positive

Searching for a new job can be frustrating, especially when you’ve been out of the workforce for some time. Here’s how to keep the negativity from creeping in.

1.       Set small goals and accomplish them.

2.       Look for positives in negative outcomes.

3.       Seek out your support system regularly.

(Source: Glassdoor)

AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor

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