) -- In the past few weeks many banks have started to conduct layoffs as part of restructurings or mergers.

In addition, after hiring sprees in 2010 many investment banks pulled back and are focusing on bringing in top tier talent and cutting low performers. For example, investment banks

like Jefferies


Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Report

, have both announced that they are looking to attract more experienced talent by paying more in compensation.

Banks are also cutting employees to meet regulatory requirements, while many banks are trimming down employees in certain businesses and building in others. Banks that we predicted would

conduct layoffs in February

have already announced and are continuing to do further restructuring of their business.

But a new round of cost cutting is hitting the banking industry.

Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Report

announced that it is laying off 1,900 employees in its home mortgage division nationwide. The termination notices were sent to employees on in mid-March. Many of the employees that were laid off were subsequently rehired as temporary employees last year, according to an article in the

Killeen Daily Herald, a Texas-based newspaper.

Employees in North and Central Texas, Iowa, California and North Carolina. Those employees will lose their jobs with in 60 days.

"While we may reduce staff in some areas, we are also hiring in other areas. For example, in our annual report, it said we had 6,500 open jobs at the end of 2010. We are hiring," said a Wells Fargo spokesperson.

Wells Fargo is one of several mortgage lenders that is under investigation by regulators for its handling of mortgage put-backs. So it is possible there could be further layoffs in its mortgage division.

Wilmington Trust

( WL) shareholders approved the $351 million merger with

M&T Bank

(MTB) - Get Report

on March 22. Federal regulators are expected to approve the deal in a couple of months.

Once the deal is give the go ahead, M&T Bank will lay off 700 employees from Wilmington Trust. Layoff notices are expected to be sent out in the late summer, according to

The Wall Street Journal

The employees that will be laid off will mostly be employees that have back office jobs or corporate positions.

M&T plans to spend about $23 million on severance payments, said spokesman Mike Zabel. Even with layoffs from the merger looming, M&T Bank is hiring in states such as Delaware, according to WDEL,

a news radio show in Delaware.

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

plans on cutting 100 jobs in its consumer and small business units as a result of declining revenues from debit card overdraft and interchange fees. Many employees that are laid off will be offered positions within other branches, according to

The St. Louis Business Journal.

The layoffs were part of the consumer business' overall restructuring. Bank of America has said the law may cost them $1.3 billion in losses due to the Durbin amendment. The cuts were spread across the country and represent a small percentage of the

division's 95,000 workers,

according to The Wall Street Journal.

Even thought Bank of America is conducting layoffs, it is also hiring in other areas. For instance the bank announced it would be hiring 250 people in call centers for home loans and insurance and consumer and small-business banking in Brea, California, according to the

Orange Country Register.

In addition, the bank is hiring over a thousand small business bankers



Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Report

announced in mid-March that it would lay off 200 to 300 employees in its retail brokerage firm, Smith Barney.

The layoffs are supposed to hit the firms lowest producing financial advisors and trainees.

On Wall Street

reported that advisors who have been at the firm for over a year but generate less than $75,000 in annually may be let go. Trainees who have been at the firm for six to 36 months with $25,000 or less in annual production could see the chopping block also.

Smith Barney employed 17,800 financial advisors as of the end of 2010, according to


Robert W. Baird & Co.

is poaching employees from Smith Barney and has said they will be continue to hiring brokerage managers, according to


The cuts were announced before Morgan Stanley received approval by the Federal Reserve to purchase the portion of the Smith Barney brokerage business it doesn't already own. Morgan Stanley said that there are no other announced layoffs.

Morgan Stanley confirmed that they are laying off 200 employees and said there were no more layoffs planned.

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

is said to have laid off five percent of its trading desk staff, according to


The layoffs in the trading division are the start of an effort to trim the worst-performing five percent of Goldman's staff. Many of these employees, "called z-list employees," received a disappointing bonus in January and were given notice that they may be let go. Further layoffs are expected in the next few weeks.

Goldman had 35,700 employees at the end of 2010, which means layoffs could be over 1,700.

Goldman Sachs has been gradually cutting down staff in trading to comply with the Volcker Rule, which is part of the Dodd Frank financial reform bill, which passed last year.

Goldman Sachs would not comment on the layoffs.

--Written by Maria Woehr in New York.

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