Morning Coffee Feb 29 2012

J.P. Morgan Trims Branch Expansion

By julie steinberg

J.P. Morgan will pare back its branch expansion strategy across the U.S., concentrating on locations in a few key states, bank officials said yesterday.

Todd Maclin, the firm's head of consumer and business banking who has been in his position for nearly a year, said at the firm's annual investor day that the bank will build 900 branches in 2012 instead of the up to 2,000 his predecessor had pushed for.

The scaled-back strategy, which Chief Executive Jamie Dimon laid out in an earnings call late last year, is being implemented as costs increase due to regulations and the longer amount of time it takes for a branch to reach profitability, Maclin said.

Still, the bank intends to keep expanding in California, Florida and Atlanta, Ga.

"We would acknowledge with everyone else out there that it is entirely possible they will go away some day, and, if they do, we will make a lot more money," Maclin said. "But until they do, we are not going to let others take our locations."

Separately, the firm's investment banking division broke out specific numbers of the unit's personnel makeup. One interesting bit: there are 1,500 more control and risk professionals than traders.

What Really Happened (Bloomberg)

When Jesse Bhattal left Nomura, everyone immediately wondered what that meant for the bank's international strategy. Turns out he's the one who wasn't on board with it.

Not So Gold in Japan (The Japan Times)

Goldman layoffs are happening all over the world, but a truly unique situation is emerging in Japan.

M.B.A.s Are Here to Stay (Poets & Quants)

A new study finds that 70% of schools had increased on-campus recruiting activity last fall compared with the year earlier period. Looks like firms are still interested in the young and eager.

Closing Up Shop (Deal Journal Australia)

Royal Bank of Scotland is paring back its fixed income, commodity and currency trading business in Australia, which will affect 80 workers. Some will be offered new positions in Singapore and London.

Tough Times (Reuters)

Accounting changes in China could mean that all who aspire to be partner at Big Four firms would need to hold difficult Chinese qualifications.

Down South (Mergers & Inquisitions)

Here's a trusty guide to working on a deal in Latin America. Expect to encounter various M&A issues depending on the country you're working in.

Buzz Around the Office

Dolphin Race (YouTube)

A pod of about 2,000 dolphins race against a vessel.

List of the Day: Important Questions

Don't end a job interview without asking your own questions.

1. Who would you be reporting to?

2. What's the company's biggest problem?

3. Why is the position open?

(Source: CBS Moneywatch)

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