STOCKHOLM: Handelsbanken will close almost half of its branches and cut about 1,000 jobs in Sweden over the next two years while using the cost savings to invest in the bank’s IT systems, it said on Wednesday.
The cuts and closures would lower costs by about 1.7 billion Swedish crowns ($194 million) compared to 2019, to around 20 billion crowns by the end of 2022, it said.
“Our ambition – as always at Handelsbanken – is to manage these redundancies with care and respect for individual employees,” CEO Carina Akerstrom said in a statement.
The bank said it would reduce its branch network to about 200 from 380 and set aside around 1.5 billion crowns in the fourth quarter to pay for the cuts.
The costs would see its income “contracting by around SEK 1 billion”, but it didn’t specify in what business areas.
Handelsbanken will invest 1 billion in its IT and digital services over the next two years, it added.
Handelsbanken’s second-quarter results beat expectations, as its loan portfolio weathered the coronavirus crisis, but analysts have for years been worried by the bank’s costs.
It said the changes were a result of the Swedish part of a review of the group’s business operations announced last year.
($1 = 8.7804 Swedish crowns)
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