Before the world was struck by a pandemic and engulfed in a globally inept response thereto, lots of banks were laying off lots of people for lots of reasons. Well, two reasons, really: because they could, or because they had to. And no one had a greater need to lay off more people than everyone else than HSBC, which announced that it would part ways with 35,000 people just as the disease began to spread aggressively beyond China. Those people got a brief reprieve so HSBC could avoid looking even worse by casting tens of thousands of people into the plague-ridden streets and the worst global economy in almost a century, even though they are bankers.
“Since February we have pressed forward with some aspects of our transformation program, but we now need to look to the long term and move ahead with others, including reducing our costs,” Chief Executive Officer Noel Quinn said in a memo published Wednesday…. Unite, a workers’ union representing some of the bank’s U.K. staff, said the news would cause “great apprehension” among employees. “The question that must be asked today is ‘Why now, HSBC?’” said Dominic Hook, national officer at the union.