Although we have experienced record high foreclosure rates, lack of small business lending, and overall tightening of credit requirements, banks are hiring at record paces.  Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase added thousands of employees in 2010 and again have their talent acquisition departments scouring their key markets for bankers, underwriters, brokers, private bankers, traders, treasury sales, and a host of other professionals that can aid in generating fee income and growing deposits.

In what is still being described as a down economy, current reports reveal that banks reported a 77% increase in earnings last year, fueling a renewed focus on growth.

Cutting to the bone

With lending at a standstill and the stock market experiencing some of its lowest numbers in recent years, many banks cut pretty deep in late 2007, 2008 and 2009 and are now looking to staff up.  In addition many institutions are required to hire more employees to ensure they are in compliance with new laws such as the Dodd-Frank overhaul of the banking industry that passed in mid-2010.  Federal regulators are constantly looking under the hood of many of our largest banks to ensure the engine is running to currently defined specifications.

Poor Customer Experience

Although many banks are being forced to add staff to meet new regulations, others are adding staff due to some of the worst customer criticisms they have experienced in decades.  In recent years, institutions became notorious for freezing credit lines without notice, calling loans without even considering renewals, and cutting staff in branches to never before seen lows.

Pre-crash, I remember walking into my local Fifth Third or JPMorgan branch and being greeted by multiple bank staff members.  Today, I walk into these same branches and wait 15-20 minutes in line before I reach the teller or customer service rep chewing gum, and seemingly bothered by my presence.

Changing Their Tune

Bank of America regularly ranks first in mortgage servicing and second in home loans.  Due to struggling homeowners they have hired more than 12,000 to alter these loans under current loan modifications rules.

In a press release at the end of 2010 Bank of America revealed its intention of hiring more than 1,000 small business bankers by the beginning of 2012 – realizing how large a part of the economy small businesses really are.

CEO Brian Moynihan, even stated at one point that “Small businesses play a role in driving innovation and growth in our economy, and the steps we’re taking at Bank of America will help create more certainty, more confidence and more opportunity for small businesses in all of our markets.  Our small business bankers will live and work in the communities they serve, making them uniquely eligible to work with these businesses and wage the ideal combination of financial services to help them grow.”

In addition to small business lenders and credit executives, there also seems to be significant growth in mezzanine finance, wealth management, compliance/risk management, middle market commercial banking and even hedge funds.

Hottest Trends

As the economy continues to rebound, financial institutions will likely continue to hire at rates no seen since before the bust.  Here are the some of the key position trends within the areas mentioned above:

Mezzanine Finance

  • Junior Analysts
  • Analysts
  • Associates

Retail Banking

  • Personal Bankers
  • Branch Sales Managers


Wealth Management

  • Associate Bankers
  • Private Bankers
  • Wealth Managers
  • Relationship Managers

Commercial Banking

  • Commercial Lenders
  • Relationship Managers
  • Small Business Lenders
  • Credit Analysts
  • Underwriters

Compliance/Risk Management

  • Credit Risk
  • Operational Risk Management
  • Legal
  • Regulatory Compliance

Hedge Funds

  • Investor Relations
  • Operations
  • Hedge Fund Administration
  • Accounting
  • Analysts
  • Risk Managers
  • Traders

Capital Markets

  • Institutional Sales
  • Fixed Income Traders
  • Equity Traders

A quick search on shows over 300,000 open positions, when performing simple searches using the various titles above.  There is no doubt that competition is starting to rise in the financial services sector – so how do banks get ready for the next war for talent?  Stay tuned for a future blog!


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