January 13, 2020 / 10:05 AM / 5 days ago

Danske Bank offers voluntary redundancy to 2,000 Danish staff

FILE PHOTO: A view of the Danske bank headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark October 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danske Bank (DANSKE.CO) said on Monday it has offered 2,000 Danish employees voluntary redundancy as the troubled lender looks to cut costs and restore profitability.

Danske Bank, which employs more than 21,000, has lost customers and warned of lower-than-expected earnings since reports emerged in 2017 of its involvement in one of the world’s biggest money-laundering scandals via its Estonia branch.

“As part of our plan to become a better bank, we need to reduce costs to be able to, among other things, invest significantly in becoming a more digital, simple and efficient bank,” interim chief HR officer Anne Knos said in an email.

The bank introduced a hiring freeze in October to help cope with challenges including rising compliance costs.

The offer for voluntary redundancy was made to employees in special headquarters and staff functions in Denmark but not to branch staff or those in regulatory positions, it said. Danske employs about 11,000 in Denmark.

Last week it announced plans to cut up to 108 jobs in Finland where it employs around 2,000 people. In November it cut about 50 jobs in its foreign exchange and fixed income business.

Danske Bank said in November it would spend 1.5-2 billion crowns this year on cost management and digitalisation and that it would have fewer employees by 2023 when it plans to have restored shareholders’ return on equity to 9-10% from around 5-6% this year.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Stine Jacobsen; editing by Louise Heavens and Jason Neely

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