PTSB to cut 300 jobs in cost-saving drive

AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and KBC Ireland also reducing numbers

The level of jobs being eliminated at PTSB through a voluntary redundancy scheme equates to about 12.5% of its almost 2,400-strong workforce

The level of jobs being eliminated at PTSB through a voluntary redundancy scheme equates to about 12.5% of its almost 2,400-strong workforce

 

Permanent TSB’s (PTSB) new chief executive, Eamonn Crowley, is planning to cut 300 jobs, mainly targeting managerial positions, as the bank joins rivals in a major cost-cutting drive.

The proportion of jobs being eliminated through a voluntary redundancy scheme equates to about 12.5 per cent of its almost 2,400-strong workforce. The lender’s 76 branches will not be affected.

The lender is reducing its administrative office footprint, with plans not to renew a lease on office space on Hatch Street in central Dublin, which had been a base for contact centre and arrears-management staff.

The bank had already split many of the teams that were based in the building across other properties during the Covid-19 crisis to protect staff and ensure business continuity in the event of a virus breakout.

A spokeswoman confirmed the restructuring programme when contacted by The Irish Times on Friday.

“We are commencing the programme to reflect changes which are taking place in the economy and in the way which our customers wish to engage with us,” she said.

“The programme will involve a review of the bank’s organisation structure, the introduction of smarter ways of working for staff and better use of our property portfolio.

“It is too early to be prescriptive about the changes which will emerge from this exercise, but we do anticipate that we will be able to facilitate a reduction of circa 300 colleagues via a voluntary severance scheme, which will be weighted towards management and head-office functions.”

PTSB is the last of the five retail banks in the Irish market to unveil job-cut plans this year as the industry grapples with the problems of ultra-low central bank interest rates, high regulatory capital requirements and muted loan growth.

Covid-19 has added to the industry’s woes, with a spike in bad-loan provisions tipping the sector into loss-making territory for the first time since 2013.

Redundancy scheme

Bank of Ireland said last week that 1,700 of its staff, the equivalent to 1,450 full-time roles, will leave the company by the end of next year under a voluntary redundancy scheme. That equates to about 14 per cent of its workforce.

AIB, which unveiled plans earlier this year to cut 1,500 jobs by 2022, is currently carrying out a fresh examination of costs as the Covid-19 economic crisis is set to weigh on bank incomes for the foreseeable future.

Although chief executive Colin Hunt has paused his current job-reduction plan amid the coronavirus shock, further cuts are likely to be on the cards in the coming years, analysts say.

Ulster Bank said in September that it was seeking to eliminate 266 of its 2,800 jobs in the Republic. This comes as the bank’s UK parent, NatWest, is actively considering winding down the Irish business.

Meanwhile, Belgian-owned KBC Bank Ireland is closing four its 16 branches in Ireland in a move that is expected to result in the loss of fewer than 20 jobs. The digital-focused lender has about 1,400 employees in the State.

“Staff are operating in incredibly difficult circumstances providing a professional customer service. These ongoing announcements from banks of cost-cutting and job losses are adding to the stress and anxiety that staff and customers are already feeling,” said John O’Connell, general secretary of the Financial Services Union.

“We need to plan for the future of banking, and until that plan is in place cost-cutting measures should be put on hold.”