20 Banks Slashing Jobs in 2011

Bank layoff slideshow updated with latest news of layoffs at Morgan Stanley.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Banks across the world slashed jobs in 2011 as they coped with a difficult macroeconomic environment that has been sparked by the European debt crisis, tighter regulations and pressure to improve shareholder returns.

The cuts, totaling 120,000 announced so far according to Reuters, are not yet as bloody as those seen in 2008 and 2009, but analysts expect further headcount reductions to be inevitable as banks in Europe begin their deleveraging process.

While European banks have been leading the job cuts, banks in the U.S. are also increasing their focus on expenses, with revenue growth still remaining elusive.

For investment banks, which dominate the list, compensation is the biggest cost driver, often accounting for 50% of operating expenses. A small change in the compensation-to-revenue ratio can go a long way in improving return on equity -- a key metric of profitability for shareholders.

As for commercial banks, they have been able to trump analyst expectations through massive improvements in credit quality so far. But with that metric no longer a surprise, analysts are starting to focus on steadily rising expenses and their impact on the bottom line.

Also worth noting is that while they cut jobs in some divisions, global banks continue to invest in growth areas, so the overall reduction in headcount might be less than reported.

Read on to find out which banks have been sharpening the ax in recent months.

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