December 29, 2015 / 4:46 PM / 4 years ago

Polish bank BPH to cut workforce by up to a third in 2016

WARSAW, Dec 29 (Reuters) - GE’s Polish bank BPH plans to cut its workforce by up to a third next year to save 200 million zlotys ($52 million) a year from 2017, the lender said on Tuesday.

BPH has a market value of 2.3 billion zlotys and is Poland’s 11th largest bank by assets. It has a troublesome 12 billion zloty Swiss-franc denominated mortgage portfolio, which is more than half its overall loan portfolio.

At the end of third quarter, BPH had 253 own branches and 172 partner outlets. The workforce reduction plan envisages the transformation of 134 branches into franchise outlets, which will be taken over by their employees. Another 65 will be transformed in cooperation with existing partners, or closed.

Overall, up to 1,706 jobs could go next year, BPH said. At the end of the third quarter, BPH employed 5,361 people.

Under its plan for the next five years, BPH would invest in its remaining branches, which are focused on retail banking and small and medium enterprises. The bank also said it would invest 350 million zlotys in IT projects.

The write-offs resulting from the job cut plan are seen at 211 million zlotys, the bank said.

BPH confirmed it was still looking for an investor after talks with Polish insurer PZU were suspended in October. ($1 = 3.8679 zlotys) (Reporting by Marcin Goclowski; editing by David Clarke)

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