ECONOMY

Banks to start new voluntary exit programs

banks-to-start-new-voluntary-exit-programs

The country’s four core banks will implement new voluntary exit programs for staff in the coming months, aiming to cut at least 2,000 jobs between them. By the end of next year National Bank, Alpha, Piraeus and Eurobank must have reduced their total number of employees by 4,300.

Sources say that the managers of the four lenders are about to complete the planning stage and will submit their voluntary exit programs to the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF) for the necessary approval in the next few weeks. Their aim is to conclude the programs as quickly as possible, perhaps during the first quarter of the year, although the timing of the programs’ implementation will also depend on the general conditions.

Kathimerini understands that Piraeus and National will be the first to begin the voluntary exit programs, with Eurobank and Alpha set to follow later.

The new round of cost-cutting in terms of reducing staffs, branches and operating expenditure is in accordance with the restructuring plans that the banks’ managements have agreed with the European Commission’s competition authorities. However, there is additional pressure for cuts due to the continuing contraction of the Greek economy, which has led to a decrease in banking activities and an increase in nonperforming loans.

The restructuring plans provide for National to cut its staff from 12,300 to 10,695 by end-2017, for Piraeus to reduce its numbers from 14,370 to 12,800, for Eurobank to slash 1,000 jobs from 10,800 today, and for Alpha to see the number of its employees from 9,678 to 9,504. Some 180 branches must also close.