Posted on Jan 24, 2021 8:29 AM
At Natixis, cost reduction involves the increasing migration of certain functions to Portugal. The management of the bank presented to the unions at the beginning of the week a draft voluntary departure plan (PDV) covering 245 positions.
This project, first unveiled by “L’Agefi” and confirmed by the group, is one of the first illustrations of the savings plan presented in November, and which should reduce costs by 350 million euros. by 2024.
The plan currently provides for the elimination of 36 positions in equity derivatives, an activity in which Natixis has decided to downsize after the heavy losses in the first half of 2020.
It also provides for the relocation to Porto of 209 positions, mainly in the bank’s support functions, and currently based in the Paris region. “It’s even downright relocation”, squeals a union source. Employees in these positions will be offered support and special training.
Negotiations with the social partners are only starting; a new meeting is scheduled before the end of the month. No forced departure is foreseen within the framework of these discussions.
Nearly 900 employees
The listed subsidiary of BPCE is therefore continuing its establishment in Portugal, which has become an important rear base for French banks. Natixis created its own branch in Porto in 2016, by outsourcing part of its IT activities, until then handled by external service providers in France. Six hundred people were hired locally at the time.
Since then, the teams have grown. In 2019, another relocation program resulted in the transfer of around 100 additional jobs and less use of external service providers in France, again. In total, nearly 900 people now work for Natixis in Porto.
The field of expertise of the Portuguese branch has also evolved. If IT specialists make up the bulk of the workforce, support function positions have also been created for risk management, compliance, human resources, or even communication.
A popular destination
This will also be the case with the project currently under discussion. “Management indicates that these are mostly low added value positions. But in reality, we don’t know how far it can go ”, worries a union representative, who fears a growing expansion of the activities carried out on the spot, to the detriment of France.
” The development of our center of expertise in Porto is a real success. It has helped to strengthen our efficiency and agility », Comments a spokesperson for the group.
Natixis is far from being an isolated case. In banking, Portugal has become a destination of choice, which offers a skilled and competitive workforce, lower real estate costs, while remaining under the supervision of the ECB.
BNP Paribas has around 6,000 employees in the Lisbon region, many of them in support functions of corporate and investment banking. Crédit Agricole SA has also consolidated part of its IT there for some of its subsidiaries.