A report published on Thursday by Bloomberg indicated that the largest banks in the U.S. and Europe together brought on roughly 19,000 new employees in the first six months of this year. All told, of the 15 top lenders on the two continents, eight increased their employee count, three kept it largely the same, while only four made reductions.

Of that group of 15, U.K. lender Barclays went on the biggest hiring spree, adding around 7,200 people to its employee rolls. Meanwhile, HSBC Holdings was the most aggressive in culling its ranks, with an estimated 3,000 reductions.

A bank teller assisting a smiling client.

Image source: Getty Images.

In terms of U.S. banks, the top hiring company for the first half of 2020 was -- a bit surprisingly -- Wells Fargo (WFC 1.39%), which brought on roughly 6,500 new people.

Among the Big Four American lenders, Wells Fargo is considered by many analysts and banking pundits to be the most troubled. Wells Fargo's recent years have been marked by a set of scandals involving customer accounts, and in 2018 the Federal Reserve mandated an asset cap on the bank.

Meanwhile, two of Wells Fargo's Big Four peers -- Bank of America (BAC 1.22%) and Citigroup (C 1.20%) -- also added to their tallies. Bank of America took on around 4,700 workers during the half-year period, and Citigroup's figure was approximately 4,000. The figures for the fourth member of that group, JPMorgan Chase, were not provided.

In spite of the severe economic contractions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, demand for certain services such as loans has necessitated growth in headcount for some banks. Not all increases will stick, however. Wells Fargo, for one, recently announced it would start cutting jobs as part of a broader initiative to push down costs.