The future looks uncertain for employees at ABN AMRO in London. Question is - what should they do about it?
One thing's certain - cuts are coming. A victorious Barclays would create an overlap in fixed income, while the bank's commitment to ABN's equities business is by no means assured. But if the consortium of Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Fortis wins the Dutch bank, even more blood could be spilt - 10,000 heads will roll according to some analysts.
So should ABN bankers make a swift exit or hang on and risk decapitation? Hang on is the verdict of those in the know.
"You need to get your head down and give it a few months," says one JPMorgan banker and veteran of the mergers between Chemical and Chase, Chase and JPMorgan and JPMorgan and Bank One. "If, six months after the merger, you can't stand it, there are always places to go to. But if you just get on with it you may find there's no reason to leave."
After a merger it's not unusual for banks to appoint co-heads of departments, with employees from each of the merged banks vying for the same jobs. It's difficult to predict winners and losers on the basis of the acquired and the acquirer - it's more down to which bank does best on a business by business basis. "Whichever bank was strongest in that particular business seems to take control," says our mole.
Cash for sticking around
And while the power struggles are playing out, employees at the acquired bank can typically negotiate generous retention payments in return for their loyalty.
Michael Moran, chief executive of Fairplace, an outplacement and talent management consultancy, says banks typically pay between six and 12 months of the previous year's bonus to employees who hang on until a certain date.
After that, he says, you can often quit and walk away with a redundancy payment, plus the retention bonus - very nice, thank you.