US banks keep trimming branches, cutting jobs

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Most U.S. consumer banks are cutting jobs and trimming branches.

Bank of America and Citigroup reduced headcount the most, eliminating about 20,000 staffers between them, according to fourth-quarter earnings reports from each bank. The respective moves amount to 4.6 percent and 4 percent fewer workers at the banks. JPMorgan Chase reported in its earnings that it employs 6,700 fewer workers than a year ago.

The banks also reduced the number of branches.

JPMorgan has 3.4 percent fewer branches (5,413 branches and about 235,000 staff at the end of 2015); much of the bank's headcount reduction came from its consumer and community banking division and within investment banking.

Bank of America operates 129 fewer "financial centers," (2.65 percent) according to its earnings report; and Citigroup ran 4 percent fewer branches at the end of 2015 versus the previous year.

Often, a bank reducing headcount is a sign of layoffs and firings, but it may also be a reflection of attrition and the departure of seasonal labor.