Countdown begins as US bank staff wait for the knife

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That is because Wall Street is bracing itself for another round of job cuts at the conclusion of the holiday that signals the formal end of summer and the beginning of the work year.

Many bankers and recruiters believe the next lay-offs will be deeper and more severe than the previous cuts, as securities firms concede that business is not likely to rebound any time soon and realign their staff levels for next year.

JP Morgan and Credit Suisse First Boston said recently they planned to trim costs by an additional 20% and 9% respectively, after several rounds of earlier cuts. Both have signalled that they can wring more cost-savings from their bottom lines without significant job cuts.