Charles Schwab Corp., the top U.S. discount and online brokerage, Thursday said it was cutting up to 2,400 employees, or 11 percent of its work force, as it continues to grapple with weak customer trading levels.

Schwab said it expects its employee staffing levels to be down 25 percent by the end of the year. It had about 22,300 employees at the end of July. It said it will cut between 2,000 and 2,400 full-time staffers.

The company said it will take pre-tax charges of about $225 million over the rest of the year to pay for severance packages and to reduce some of its systems hardware. Schwab said the restructuring will cut pre-tax operating expenses by about $65 million per quarter, commencing in the first quarter of 2002.

Schwab, which began 2001 with about 26,700 workers, had indicated earlier this month it would aliminate more jobs after cutting headcount earlier this year.

Schwab shares closed at $12.20 in Wednesday trading on the New York Stock Exchange, well below their 52-week high of $39.50 and just above a yearly low of $12.12.