Christmas is coming, but several banks are being neither charitable nor filled with cheer. With festivities in sight, they are instead culling their minions.
In the past few weeks, there has been news of layoffs at Citigroup, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank. Bank of America and UBS are also rumoured to be trimming staff, although we haven't been able to confirm this.
This unseasonal behaviour should not come as a great surprise. As our recent infographic clearly showed, October to December are the months when banks collectively make most of their redundancies. 'Tis the time for being laid off. However, some banks are more prone to festive hostilities than others.
The Europeans look particularly brutal. Barclays announced 2,000 pre-Christmas layoffs in 2012. UBS has made pre-Christmas cuts to its investment banking headcount in every single one of the past four years. Credit Suisse has made cuts in three of the four and Deutsche has made cuts in two. Citigroup doesn't break out headcount in its investment bank, but redundancies at Citi were reported in December 2011, December 2012 and November this year.
By comparison, history suggests that Goldman Sachs is the kindest bank to work for in the fourth quarter. Between 2011 and 2014, Goldman only made net redundancies once at this time of year (in 2011). Instead of cruelly culling bankers just before bonuses, Goldman is more prone to cutting them in February, March, or June, after bonuses have been paid. How kind.