Stress and the City: Britain's bank workers buckle under pressure

Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:09am EST
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By Sinead Cruise and Anjuli Davies

LONDON (Reuters) - Dwindling job security, heavier workloads, regulatory upheaval and the poor public image of the banking sector are taking a toll on the mental health of Britain's bank workers.

Eight years after the global financial crisis, stress in the industry has pushed up demand for insurance to protect revenues against the cost of paying staff too sick to work, insurance data show.

"The problem has gone into a new stratosphere since the financial crisis ... Those who still have a job are vilified," said Jagdev Kenth, director of risk and regulatory strategy in the financial institutions group at Willis Towers Watson.

"Most haven't had anything to do with the scandals. They're working longer hours, doing two to three jobs, under greater pressure. Something has to give."

Once havens for prestigious, highly-paid and lifelong careers, banks have undergone rapid cultural and structural change at the behest of regulators tasked with reining them in.

Tougher capital rules, hefty misconduct fines, and the closure of riskier business lines have forced banks to slash staff.

Ten of Europe's largest lenders have axed 130,000 jobs since June, Reuters data shows.

The impact of stress has reached all the way up to the higher echelons of the banking industry. In 2011, Lloyds Chief Executive Antonio Horta-Osorio took two months off after suffering sleep deprivation and exhaustion.   Continued...

A man walks past a branch of The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in central London in this August 27, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Files