The Financial Post reports in its Thursday, April 8, edition that Canada's top banks are shedding workers for the second-straight year, moving toward leaner operations to satisfy investors demanding returns on tens of billions of dollars that lenders have poured into new technologies. A Reuters dispatch to the Post reports that five of Canada's six biggest banks cut staff by 4.4 per cent from a year earlier to a combined total of 291,409 full-time equivalent employees as of Jan. 31. That is down 5.2 per cent from a peak in the third quarter of 2019. Despite optimism about a robust economic recovery, loan growth outside of mortgages has been stagnant due to the slow pace of COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada and renewed lockdowns. "It's very difficult to grow" revenues, said Todd Johnson at BCV Asset Management. Mr. Johnson says banks are likely to continue investing in technology at similar levels as the past few years, which will be "welcomed by investors as long as earnings and dividends continue to grow, and especially if tech investment displaces some labor costs." The pullback in headcounts follows combined quarterly year-on-year growth of 4 per cent to 5 per cent in 2018 and 2019 across the six big banks.
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