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JPMorgan consumer bank ahead of plan on job cuts, expenses: executive

A sign outside the headquarters of JP Morgan Chase & Co in New York, September 19, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar
A sign outside the headquarters of JP Morgan Chase & Co in New York, September 19, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar

(Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co expects to complete its previously announced plan to eliminate 4,000 jobs from its consumer business by year-end, 12 months ahead of schedule, a bank executive said on Friday.

JPMorgan is increasingly using electronic tools, such as mobile deposits, online accounts and advanced teller machines, to handle basic consumer transactions and reduce the need for staff in its 5,652 branches, said Gordon Smith, chief executive of the company's Chase Consumer & Community Banking unit, which accounts for roughly half of JPMorgan's revenue and profit.

Smith, speaking at a conference of institutional investors in Boston, said the company also will have reduced 11,000 positions from its mortgage operations by year-end, compared with its plan to bring down headcount by 13,000 to 15,000 by the end of 2014.

Smith's entire unit, which includes branches, mortgage lending and credit cards, employed 156,000 people at the end of September.

JPMorgan, like other banks, is under increased pressure from investors to cut expenses because revenue is down due to low interest rates, weak loan demand and tighter regulations on fees. The need for mortgage staff has fallen sharply with this year's drop in refinancing and with workouts of loans that went bad when house prices fell a few years ago.

Smith vowed, however, that the company will continue to invest in upgrading its branches and attracting more deposits in anticipation of a time when interest rates rise and a stronger economy encourages more borrowing.

Consumer banking operating expenses, aside from those for mortgages, should rise this year by 2.5 percent, less than the 3 percent target, Smith said.

(Reporting by David Henry in New York; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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