U.S. Bancorp told employees Monday that it would restructure staffing at its 3,000 U.S. Bank branches, including an unspecified number of job cuts, in its biggest response yet to the declining use of brick-and-mortar banks by consumers.
The Minneapolis-based company will eliminate jobs of many employees who don’t work directly with customers, chiefly in middle levels of management. It will also create more positions that deal with customers. It will offer training and new job opportunities before resorting to layoffs in about two months.
“We are telling some employees that we have made the difficult decision to eliminate their jobs because customer behaviors have changed,” Andy Cecere, the company’s chief executive, said in a memo to employees Monday afternoon. “At the same time, however, we will be creating new jobs and making a significant investment in training for our consumer bank to better support customer needs now and in the future.”
The company in April announced it was closing, consolidating or moving hundreds of branches this year and next, with the net effect that its overall branch footprint would be about 10 to 15% smaller. Just last week, executives said they were already halfway through that process, having closed 159 branches.
But U.S. Bank executives don’t have a specific target, or at least not one that’s being publicly disclosed, on the staffing changes within the branches.
Some branches will not see any changes in count, while others will see more than one job cut, a spokeswoman said.
U.S. Bank will begin posting new jobs on employment websites, referral firms and elsewhere on Tuesday. It will adopt some new nomenclature in the process, with many of the postings carrying the word “consultant” in their titles.
Separately, the company also told employees it was hiring an outside technology service firm to provide technical support to workers in its branches.
The bank’s internal IT team provided that service in the past. That move doesn’t affect the technical support U.S. Bank provides to consumers or businesses that use its digital services.
The bank is the nation’s fifth largest in size and its branch network extends across 25 states.
By most financial measures, it is the best-performing large bank in the country and it produced another record profit during the just-completed third quarter.
But in recent years, it was constrained from making any changes to its branch network as regulators investigated its anti-money-laundering practices. As that review proceeded, other large banks started to reduce branch networks. Wells Fargo, the nation’s fourth-largest bank and another leader in the Minnesota market, started a multiyear job-cutting program last year and has been steadily reducing the number of branches for several years.
Meanwhile, as banks open new branches, they are often staffed by fewer people than in the past. JPMorgan Chase, the country’s biggest bank, opened its first branch in Minneapolis earlier this year with a design that places tellers behind scrims, hidden from view until needed.
Since U.S. Bank emerged from its regulatory restriction, investors and analysts have pressed the firm to modernize its consumer bank. Earlier this year, it introduced a new digital banking app that, for many customers, became the main way they engage with U.S. Bank.
In his note to employees, Cecere said he hoped that many of the employees whose jobs are targeted for reduction will move into new roles at the company.
“Many of the bankers affected by this have been here for a long time, and they have all contributed to our success,” he wrote. “They are valued, and we appreciate everything they have done. However, we have to think about what is right for the long-term health of our company, and for all of our employees and customers.”