Have local banks been too brutal with their job cuts?

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As markets start to recover and Big-Four profits remain healthy, have domestic firms been overly aggressive in their recent redundancies?

In the year since the Lehman collapse the Finance Sector Union estimates that financial services firms (mainly retail banks) have cut 10,000 jobs.

Five of the nine largest rounds of Asia-Pacific banking job cuts this year have come from Australian firms, according to new data from Bloomberg. Do statistics like this shock you, given that the Big Four have been comparatively isolated from the global meltdown?

Since January, Suncorp has slashed 500 positions, CBA 421 in two rounds of redundancies, ANZ 248, and Bank of Queensland has cut 112 jobs so far as part of its plan to engineer $50m worth of savings in its Project Pathways program. The ANZ reductions come on top the 800 jobs that it slashed in the final few months of last year.

Do you think most of their layoffs were well designed and will improve efficiency? Or were they an overreaction to the financial crisis? Do banks now need to rehire for positions that shouldn't have been axed in the first place?

Or, horror of horrors, is there more chopping on the horizon? FSU national secretary Leon Carter says bank workers still fear redundancies, despite profitability being maintained at the best rate for banks around the world over the past two years.

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