U.S. Bank Home Mortgage is the second largest employer in Daviess County, but employment numbers are decreasing as reports of layoffs and department cuts have circulated in recent months. U.S. Bank, along with a number of other large banks across the United States, have eliminated jobs in an attempt to streamline their business model and provide more efficiency across the board.
According to the Owensboro 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, U.S. Bank employed 2,404. That number dropped to 1,950 at the end of the 2018 fiscal year and then dropped again to 1,854 by the end of 2018.
Despite the consistent decrease in employees over the last two years, Angela Hamric, director of finance and support services for the City, said there are no red flags in regard to U.S. Bank’s signed wage requirement with the City of Owensboro.
The City of Owensboro entered into that agreement with U.S. Bank Mortgage Servicing Center in 2010 and re-signed the agreement in 2013. The agreement provides the bank with a sliding scale to rent three buildings in Mid-America Airpark off Carter Road.
If U.S. Bank meets a minimum occupational license fee of $1,013,420 in all positions across Owensboro, they are given a discounted, sliding scale rate on the rent of those three buildings. Since that agreement, U.S. Bank has continued to meet the minimum payroll tax paid to the City, allowing them the lowest rent.
According to Hamric, those buildings total 132,850 square feet with a price of $6.70 per square foot for two buildings and $7.64 per square foot for the third.
“U.S. Bank is not on the decline at all,” Hamric said.
Although Hamric said layoffs may have occurred, there has not been a large percentage of terminated employees to affect the company’s rental agreement with the City.
“I don’t expect any issues,” Hamric said.
But rumors have circulated throughout Owensboro regarding the bank’s most recent round of layoffs. Some attribute the layoffs to the company outsourcing local jobs, while others have spoken of automation initiatives.
It’s unclear exactly how many local employees have been laid off in 2019. The number of jobs that could still potentially be cut is also unclear, but sources who work for the company say U.S. Bank isn’t finished eliminating jobs.
Those U.S. Bank employees who spoke with Owensboro Times wished to remain anonymous for fear of losing their severance pay if they were to speak negatively about the company to the public. Another source who spoke anonymously with Owensboro Times later requested for their interview to be withdrawn from this story.
Sources told Owensboro Times they received an email shortly before being called into a meeting to discuss layoffs. Three teams were allegedly laid off in a single day from an unnamed department within the company. According to sources, employees were given about a month to continue working before their job would be terminated.
Allegedly, a U.S. Bank representative told a group of around 40 employees that their last day working for U.S. Bank would be March 29.
According to different sources, another team within the bank was terminated the week before and U.S. Bank has made significant cuts in years past. Most notably, the company closed down their HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) department in 2016, which led to a significant number of jobs being eliminated. Across social media platforms, reports of layoffs from the company have been posted intermittently within the last several months.
Evan A. Lapiska, Vice President of Public Affairs and Corporate Communications with Business Line Media and U.S. Bank, confirmed reports of local layoffs in a statement to Owensboro Times.
“We are continuously looking for opportunities to create efficiencies that allow for strategic reinvestment in the future of the organization. With that objective in mind, we have identified some non-customer-facing operations that will be transitioned to a vendor, allowing us to focus even more on work that directly benefits customers,” Lapiska said. “All of the employees affected by this decision are encouraged to pursue new opportunities within U.S. Bank, and when appropriate, internal candidates will receive priority consideration. A decision like this is not one we take lightly, but we would not do it if we did not believe it better positions us for the future.”
Lapiska did not say how many layoffs had been made at the local level, nor answer how many more were expected to come, when asked.
According to a U.S. Bank fourth quarter earnings release, the bank paid $174 million in severance charges and accruals of legal matters. This came after an October 2018 announcement that the bank would lay off 700 employees company-wide.
“The changes are happening across the company; we’re not breaking it down by individual market out of respect for the employees affected. They are our first priority,” bank spokeswoman Rebekah Fawcett told news sources.
U.S. Bank employs nearly 74,000 nationwide.