The banking industry can offer extremely high salaries to motivated individuals on the hunt for jobs – but beware, because high stress levels often accompany the positions.
Swiss-based UNI Global Union recently released the results of a study noting that many individuals working corporate banking jobs are experiencing high levels of stress when compared to peers working in other finance careers. The UNI Global Union reported that more than 80 percent of banking and insurance unions across 26 different countries cited deteriorating health as a major problem among their members and employees over the past few years.
"This is a crisis that has affected us all in so many ways," said Marcio Monzane, the head of UNI Finance. "While we are rightly pointing the finger at bank owners for their role in the crisis, there are millions of honest, hardworking finance employees whose working lives have been ruined by the unstoppable wave of changes affecting their industry."
Monzane noted that hundreds of thousands of finance jobs have already been lost as a result of the banking crisis, with many more to follow. He claims that the pressure is on for banking staffers, with many required to deliver their usual output despite having less resources than usual. Half of the unions surveyed by UNI went on to note that the personal life of their members and employees have been under considerable strain in years past.
Lynn Mackenzie, the author of the UNI report, spoke to Reuters about the conclusions reached. Mackenzie told the new outlet that bank employees, constantly forced to face angry customers, are experiencing shockingly low levels of health. She noted that this is also caused by the unrealistic sales expectations being put on the staff by bank managers.
"Pressure to cut costs and sell products has created a climate of fear at many banks and workers are too worried about their jobs to speak out or admit they are suffering mentally, fearing it will jeopardize their job," Mackenzie told Reuters.
One bank cuts a large amount of jobs, adding onto the stress
One of the stresses causing deteriorating health rates among bank employees is the fear that they'll lose their job. CNBC reported that Bank of America is aiming to cut 3,000 different mortgage positions within its company in an attempt to cope with a declining market, indicating that this is a legitimate fear among bankers.
CNBC also reported that Bank of America had already laid off more than 9,000 full-time employees during the third quarter. Their home loan revenue fell by 11 percent during the same quarter, and the number of mortgage applications the bank had received but not yet processed fell by roughly 60 percent between the end of June and the end of September.
"The number of people who need loan modifications or short sales is smaller, and with rates higher it has significantly impacted our refi volume," Terry Francisco, Bank of America spokesperson, said while speaking with USA Today. "As the market shrinks, we need to reduce costs.''
USA Today also recently reported that Citigroup has recently announced 1,200 mortgage-related layoffs, citing statements from company spokesman Mark Rodgers. The news outlet went on to note that 6,400 mortgage-related layoffs had been announced since Summer, and that the Atlanta-based SunTrust bank planned to cut roughly 800 workers in the near future as well.
"Like many financial institutions, we are adjusting our staffing to current market conditions,'' SunTrust spokesman Michael McCoy told USA Today.
McCoy went on to state that the cuts came partially as a result of the reduced volume of mortgage loan refinancing across the county.
The trends causing stress for individuals working banking jobs
The UNI report identified seven specific trends taking place within the banking sector that are currently affecting employees. They include: widespread restructuring, pressure from managers, surrounding job losses and off-shore outsourcing, among other complaints. Many finance workers are reporting deteriorating health rates as a result of these trends.
One anonymous finance worker, employed at a international bank's call center, noted that they feared a serious health complication – such as a heart attack – would soon be caused by the high levels of pressure. Another worker, an employee at a Spanish bank, noted that clients have begun starting fights with bank employees on a regular basis. The report ends up the UNI Global Union imploring banks and credit unions to take a fairer approach to restructuring, and to begin focusing on strategies that will allow their employees to be treated more fairly.
"Hundreds of thousands of jobs have, and continue to be, lost," concluded Monzane. "The pressure on staff to deliver with tighter human resources is immense, and it is being reflected in the deteriorating health and lifestyle of bank workers worldwide."