The biggest of the big four U.S. banks in terms of employee count might soon lose its leading position. According to a report from Bloomberg Law, Wells Fargo (WFC) is gearing up to cut "thousands" of jobs starting in the next few months.
The lender has been devising ways to cut costs. Citing "people with knowledge" of such discussions within the company, the article said that the cuts could total tens of thousands of workers.
According to its recent official statistics, Wells Fargo employs around 263,000 individuals, topping the over 250,000 of big four rival JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America's nearly 172,000, and the more than 204,000 laboring at Citigroup.
Although the entire U.S. banking sector is straining under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic and the damage it's caused the economy, Wells Fargo is particularly vulnerable. In February 2018, the Federal Reserve imposed an asset cap of $1.95 trillion on the company following a series of scandals involving customer accounts. The cap severely limits the bank's ability to grow its business.
Wells Fargo is also the only member of the big four that plans to cut its upcoming quarterly dividend following the latest of the Fed's annual stress tests for large lenders. Although a dividend cut will help shave those costs, it will not be looked upon kindly by the company's investors. The exact amount of the dividend should be specified by the bank on Tuesday when it reports its second quarter results.
On Friday, a good day for the banking sector, Wells Fargo rose by nearly 6%. It handily beat the gains of the wider equities market.