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Innovation in the Face of 380,000 Layoffs

We have all seen the headlines of big layoff announcements in the finance industry.  It seems the headlines are never ending.  Tens of thousands of workers have been cut in 2011, and news articles are now appearing on what to expect in 2012.

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The above chart shows the layoffs for just a few firms.  The total cuts across the industry are astounding.  Banking analyst Dick Bove of Rochdale Securities puts the 2011 total layoffs at 230,000, and over 150,000 in 2012.

As everyone in the industry scrambles to adapt, let's not forget the personal lives affected by these cuts.  A relative of mine was laid off last week from a regional bank here in the U.S.  18 years on the job, working directly with SMB clients in the field on their corporate banking needs.  6 weeks of severance and that is it.  It was completely unexpected, and he is devastated.  It is affecting his family, his marriage, and his well being.  Multiply that by 380,000 and the effects are overwhelming.

Bank Transfer Day nets 650,000 new customers for credit unions

Has there ever been a time like we are now experiencing in the world of banking?  Banking consumers have been barraged by the media, consumer groups, and even Congress on how they are being mistreated and taken advantage of by their financial services firms.

Of all the messages I've seen and heard, the most astounding was Senator Dick Durbin getting up on the floor of the U.S. Senate, urging consumers to "Get the heck out of that bank", and "vote with your feet." 

How did we get to this point?

This can all be traced back to the financial crisis in 2008. Do you remember how bad it got?  At the time, I was working in a large financial services firm, and although I wasn't an "insider" with any privileged information, the worst case scenarios were indeed very scary.  It's hard to imagine it now, but I actually withdrew $500 cash to keep in my house just in case it all came apart (which I have since returned).
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