September 18, 2019 / 6:56 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-SocGen to present French retail restructuring plan to unions - Challenges

(Adds SocGen statement)

PARIS, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Societe Generale PA>, France’s third-biggest lender, is to present a new restructuring plan to unions on Sept. 20 that could affect 20 percent of retail banking employees in the country, business magazine Challenges reported on Wednesday.

The bank said in a statement that the numbers reported in the article are wrong and not in line with reality.

Banking analysts expect French banks to accelerate cost cutting as lenders struggle to meet profitability targets on the back of a long period of rock-bottom interest rates.

Marie-Christine Ducholet, the new head of French retail business at SocGen, would meet unions on Friday, Challenges said, citing sources. The bank confirmed the meeting.

Unions had a meeting with chief executive Frederic Oudea on Sept. 12 at which he neither confirmed nor denied rumours about possible additional cost cuts.

Oudea told staff the bank would continue its “search for ways of reducing costs”, according to the hardleft CGT union.

Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva and Geert De Clercq; editing by Richard Lough

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