U.S. banking regulator to offer buy outs to 20% of staff

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. banking regulator said on Thursday it would offer buyouts to roughly one-fifth of its staff as part of an effort to overhaul and update the agency.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) said it is planning to offer early retirement and buyout packages to 1,200 of the agency’s 5,800 employees. Agency officials said the move is intended to get ahead of a potential wave of retirements among its mostly older workforce.

The FDIC’s inspector general warned in February that 42% of the agency’s workforce is eligible to retire within the next five years, driving concerns certain departments could be left without sufficient leadership or skilled workers.

Agency officials said the staff shakeup was not an effort to reduce headcount or costs at the agency, but rather to free up resources to go to other areas, like information technology and data management.

The FDIC said the buyouts will be not available to bank examiners.

The decision to streamline the watchdog’s workforce comes at a time when the banking sector is relatively healthy. The U.S. banking sector reported $233.1 billion in profits in 2019, its second most profitable year ever.

Reporting by Pete Schroeder; Editing by Steve Orlofsky