Posted on Nov 15, 2020 at 2:49 PMUpdated Nov 15, 2020 2:58 PM
Santander tightens the screw and prepares the biggest social plan in its history. The management of the Spanish banking group presented the unions with a drastic workforce reduction plan on Friday, announcing its intention to cut 5,000 jobs, of which 1,000 could be transferred to other companies in the group. This adjustment is expected to affect 14% of the 28,800 employees in Spain and will mean the closure of nearly 1,000 branches, or a third of the total network in the country.
This is the first phase of the global savings plan of 1 billion euros over two years announced during the publication of the third quarter results, as a consequence of the 9 billion losses suffered by the group in 2020. It is presented as a necessary exercise of responsibility in the face of the acceleration of digital changes in the financial sector, under the pressure of the coronavirus crisis.
“ The changes brought about by this crisis are forcing us to adapt because digitization will accelerate even more », Commented Ana Botin, president of Santander. “ There will be digital disruptions, greater regulatory pressure and new technological competitors will grow faster. “
While nearly half of financial transactions are done remotely, the pandemic has served as a laboratory, precipitating the migration of customers to online channels, the use of which has jumped by 40% in 2020. The last few months have just shown how the bank was able to operate remotely, and ensure the continuity of customer services, despite the reduction in branch activity. An agreement recently signed with the postal operator Correos should also allow Santander to maintain its presence in rural areas despite the drop in the curtain of its branches.
“ Adjustment is not an option, it is an obligation to restore profitability and improve efficiency », Indicated the head of human resources, Aurelio Velo, in a note to the staff a few days ago.
The announcement of these job cuts comes as the bank is just completing its adjustment plan of 3,200 jobs linked to the effects of the integration of Banco Popular in 2017. The unions are nevertheless counting on the negotiation of non-traumatic exits. , with the opening of a voluntary departure desk and, above all, the offer of early retirement, while some 4,000 employees are over 55 years old. A large part of the staff transferred should go to telephone call centers and remote management, which are expected to grow strongly as the number of branches in the territory is reduced.
Santander is not the only player in the Spanish financial sector to prepare cuts in its workforce. The upcoming merger of CaixaBank and Bankia, which will be sealed in early December, could lead to the elimination of 7,000 jobs, according to provisional calculations by the unions, while Banco Sabadell also plans to cut around 2,000 jobs.