Banks fired too many people

The credit crisis came within inches of shuttering several of the nation's largest banks and caused the fire sales of others. Firms could not fire people fast enough to bring down costs. Very few operations were spared. Traders who had been part of buying and selling toxic assets were nearly all cut loose. M&A and investment banking divisions lost most of their business as clients stopped raising money and buying other companies. The value of pools of capital run by asset management arms plunged.

What a difference a few months make. The rising stock market has made corporations anxious to raise money through stock and bond sales. The value of assets under management at many money management units is up. Proprietary trading floors at places like Goldman Sachs (GS) are making huge profits again.