Commerzbank closes 200 branches
Commerzbank is accelerating the reduction of its network before the change at the top board.
The money house will not reopen 200 branches that are already closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, a spokesman confirmed on 14 August in a report by Bloomberg. The move enables the bank to meet its goal of branch closings three years ahead of the original deadline.
However, the decision to close these branches will put 10,000 jobs on the line.
Commerzbank’s group profit fell by a fifth to €220 million in the second quarter. The bank expects a loss for the full year.
According to information from German publication manager magazin, the latest plans provide for a total of 10,000 jobs to be cut and half of the 1,000 branches to be closed in order to raise the return to 7% in the medium-term from around 3%.
This includes the cut of 4,300 jobs, which was decided in autumn 2019. The bank intends to post part of the costs for this this year. The plans for a tightened austerity course are on hold until a new CEO is found.
“It would have made no sense to reopen these branches possibly only for a few months and only then to finally close them,” says one Commerzbank spokesman. “With the decision we create clarity for our customers.” According to the spokesman, the already decided job cuts will not be accelerated. All affected employees would be accommodated in other branches.
The bank wanted to reduce its branch network from 1000 to 800 branches anyway. However, according to the previous plan, which was created before the coronavirus crisis, the dismantling should not be completed until the end of 2023.
Commerzbank plans to reopen 150 other branches in the coming weeks. Then customers would have access to 600 branches nationwide again. The other 200 branches should only go back into operation later, it said.
CEO Martin Zielke, who held on to the large branch network for a long time and also decided on the previously planned downsizing, announced his resignation a few weeks ago after investors criticized his goals as not being too ambitious. The bank has been tightening its austerity policy for months.
Filling the post will be the top priority of the new chairman of the supervisory board, Hans-Jörg Vetter. The former LBBW boss was elected as the new chief controller, against the declared will of the US major shareholder Cerberus.