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Britain's 'big four' banks cut 189,000 jobs in five years

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By the end of the year, Britain's four biggest banks will have cut 189,000 jobs since the start of the financial crisis, as employment in the industry hits a nine-year low.

Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) will employ around 606,000 people worldwide by the end of the year, this is down 25% from its peak of 795,000 in 2008.

Last week HSBC were the latest bank to announce large job cuts as it said 14,000 jobs would go, as part of its restructuring plan to reduce costs and increase profitability.

Lloyds banking Group, which is 39% owned by the taxpayer, will have cut 31,000 jobs by the end of this year, including 2,340 in 2013. Barclays will have cut 20,800 since jobs by the end of 2013 since the start of the financial crisis. This includes about 5,500 jobs lost in the UK between 2008 and 2012.

RBS has lost 78,000 jobs since its taxpayer bailout in 2008.

Ismail Erturk, a senior lecturer on banking at Manchester Business School, said: "The reduction in workforce is driven by three things: economic decline, investment banking not producing as much income as it did and banks reducing the wage bill to hit profit targets promised to shareholders.

"Banks would be better off training staff in consumer divisions to explain the products they were selling. That would help avoid costly scandals such as the mis-selling of loan insurance.

He added: "Instead of cutting the number of people in branches, retail banks need better-trained people who can give good advice.

"We need a better qualified workforce who can explain the products and calculations better, even basic things like fees, charges and rates."