Wednesday 20 January 2021

ABN Amro to cut workforce by 15%, sell its Zuidas head office

The Zuidas office will be put up for sale. Photo: DutchNews.nl

ABN Amro said on Monday it is selling its Zuidas head office and will cut its global workforce by some 15%.

The announcement, made ahead of a ‘virtual investor day’, means some 2,800 out of 18,952 jobs will have gone by the end of 2024.

‘We will redevelop one of our locations in Amsterdam into a Paris-proof workplace designed to facilitate the trend of remote working. Alongside this we will sell our head office building and lease back part of it,’ the bank said in a statement. The transaction is expected to result in a book gain.

ABN Amro is the latest of the big Dutch banks to publish a strategic review, which includes both job cuts and branch closures, although ABN Amro did not say how many local offices will close.

In particular, the bank says it is to ‘focus on attractive segments in the Netherlands and Northwest Europe where we can grow profitably’ and aims to increase its position in the business and small firm market to above 20%.

Business bank

ABN Amro said in August it is to cut some 800 out of 2,500 jobs at its business banking unit CIB and pull back from its activities outside Europe.

The bank, which is still 56% in the hands of the Dutch government, reported a net loss of €5m in the second quarter of this year, after cutting costs 8%. Operating profit of €786 was hit by a €703m provision to cover bad debts – of which €591m was down to the CIB, including loans to bankrupt German payment processor Wirecard.

The bank is also still waiting for the result of a criminal investigation launched in September over alleged failures to carry out proper money laundering checks.

ING

Earlier this month, ING announced plans to close offices in South America and Asia, and downsize integration operations in several EU countries, shedding some 1,000 jobs in total.

A week later, the Financieele Dagblad said Rabobank is planning to reorganise its local branch network by reducing the number of regional head offices from 89 to 71 and cutting the number of local branches to between 100 to 150.

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