Wells Fargo expects to slash its employment by about 5 to 10 percent over the next three years, as part of a sweeping initiative to streamline the bank and make it more customer-focused, CEO Tim Sloan said Thursday.
The reduction would involve job cuts as well as attrition, Sloan said in a news release. Wells Fargo is based in San Francisco but maintains its largest employee base in Charlotte, N.C., where it has about 25,100 workers in the metro area .
Asked about what the reduction will mean for Charlotte, Wells spokesman Peter Gilchrist said the bank was not commenting on impacts by business line, location or job type.
The move also comes as Wells Fargo continues pushing to fix its reputation in the wake of a 2016 scandal involving the creation of unauthorized customer accounts, as well as more revelations of customer harm. Such disclosures have cost the bank business.
Wells Fargo had 264,500 employees companywide as of the end of June. Five percent of that figure is 13,225 jobs and 10 percent is 26,450.
“We are continuing to transform Wells Fargo to deliver what customers want — including innovative, customer-friendly products and services — and evolving our business model to meet those needs in a more streamlined and efficient manner,” Sloan said in the release.
Wells’ release also cited changing customer habits, including the rising use of digital banking options, as a factor in plans to cut employment.
Sloan, who became CEO in 2016 after John Stumpf retired when the accounts scandal erupted, has been working to trim expenses at the fourth-largest U.S. bank by assets.
Under previously disclosed plans, the bank has said it wants to lower expenses by $4 billion through the end of 2019.
“When you pledge to cut costs, and need to cut costs, headcount is the first line of attack,” independent bank analyst Nancy Bush said Thursday.