Wednesday, February 27, 2013

More about our Middle Class Endangered Species.

...and why our real estate crisis is not over.

It has become a regular feature in our media: The Destruction of Jobs.

As the monopolization of our economy continues at accelerated trends, the degradation of our infrastructures is every day more evident and flagrant, as the voices of our media are silenced one by one, either by the “concentration and consolidation” of TV and Radio stations, and gradual closure of our most respected newspapers and magazines, we are left to voice our admiration for the incredible gains in profitability. efficiency, and productivity of the gigantic corporations that are becoming the owners of our lives, our destinies, and our democracy.

While these too big to fail “banking institutions” continue to use incredibly sophisticated software to gamble by the trillions of dollars their customer’s deposits, (for which they basically pay zero interest),  and achieve very risky but very juicy results; while the least they perform is their basic social function which is to use depositor’s money to lend to small and medium sized businesses and start-ups, to promote construction of houses, grant loans to new home-buyers, finance rehabilitation of our roads, bridges, and take risks in encouraging and sponsoring new sources of clean and renewable energy, their accumulated wealth only results in more job reductions and misery. 

Please read the following articles published yesterday (February 26, 2013), and you will understand what I am talking about:

Can we do something about it?  It is becoming harder by the minute. But we still have a chance while our tiny voices might be still be heard. 

Here is the First Article:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co plans to cut 3,000 to 4,000 jobs in its consumer bank in 2013, representing about 1.5 percent of the company's overall workforce, as the bank tries to improve the profitability of its branches.

The cuts will come mainly through attrition, spokeswoman Kristin Lemkau said. The bank's branches have 63,500 employees, representing about a quarter of JPMorgan Chase's total employees.
JPMorgan is one of the few big U.S. banks that is still adding branches to its network, but to boost profit it plans to scale back the tellers it has on hand for routine transactions and to add some salespeople for products and services like wealth management that can boost revenue.

The net effect will be to reduce staff per branch by 20 percent through 2015, the company's head of consumer banking, Ryan McInerney, said in a presentation to investors.
In JPMorgan Chase's mortgage business, the company reiterated its previously announced plans to shed 13,000 to 15,000 jobs by 2014.

JPMorgan Chase had 5,614 branches at the end of 2012, and plans to increase its network by about 100 branches a year, it said. Chase's U.S. branch network is second to Wells Fargo & Co's in size.
The bank is hoping to focus on selling more to wealthy depositors. Its average consumer checking account has a balance of $4,276, and about half of all affluent U.S. households are within two miles a Chase branch or automated teller machine, the bank said.

JPMorgan Chase overall earned $21.9 billion last year, excluding accounting charges linked to changes in the value of its debt. The bank said it has the potential to earn about $27.5 billion, thanks in part to efficiency gains. It aims to cut overall expenses by $1 billion in 2013.

For overall staffing levels, JPMorgan Chase had 258,965 employees globally at the end of 2012. Its headcount rose following the financial crisis, to 262,882 in the second quarter of 2012 from 219,569 in the first quarter of 2009. Since last year's second quarter, staffing levels have drifted lower.
JPMorgan Chase shares were down 1.3 percent at $47.08 on Tuesday morning on the New York Stock Exchange.

And Here is the Second Article:

WASHINGTON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The U.S. banking industry in 2012 recorded its highest earnings since before the 2007-2009 financial crisis, according to data released on Tuesday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The FDIC said the industry's full-year earnings were the second-highest on record at $141.3 billion, an increase over 2011 of $22.9 billion, or 19.3 percent.

Bank earnings peaked in 2006 at $145.2 billion.

Much of the earnings growth in 2012 came from banks reducing the amount they set aside in case of losses on loans, the FDIC said. Banks also saw gains on loan sales and higher servicing income.

"While there is still room for further income growth, we don't expect the pace of earnings growth to continue at these levels," FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg said in a statement.

The report will likely be seen as a sign that the industry is healing after the financial crisis, although some bigger banks cut jobs last year to cope with persistent pressures such as declines in trading volume.

The industry's earnings for the fourth quarter of 2012 totaled $34.7 billion, up $9.3 billion, or 36.9 percent, from the same period in 2011, the FDIC said.

Net operating revenue during the fourth quarter was $169 billion, up $7.3 billion, or 4.5 percent, from a year earlier, the FDIC said.

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