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Credit Suisse to cut up to 500 jobs as its closes Swiss branches

ZURICH (Reuters) – Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) could cut up to 500 jobs in its Swiss banking business as it seeks to generate 100 million Swiss francs ($110 million) in annual savings through a new digitally-focussed retail banking strategy reducing its branch footprint.

Announced on Tuesday, the overhaul is the latest stage in a revamp of the lender’s Swiss retail business and will see the bank fold subsidiary Neue Aargauer Bank into its overall Credit Suisse brand and close about a quarter of its branches across the country. It is part of a group-wide 400 million franc savings package unveiled at the end of July.

“The changes to Credit Suisse’s branch network across Switzerland, including branches in Canton Aargau, are expected to be implemented by the end of 2020,” Switzerland’s second-biggest bank said in a statement.

“With a goal of 109 locations – compared to 146 at present -Credit Suisse will continue to have a strong regional presence in the future.”

Other European lenders have also announced branch closures as the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the switch to digital banking.

Credit Suisse is also hoping to attract younger clients by launching a new digital offering in October.

“Historically, we’re less well established with younger customers,” Swiss executive Andre Helfenstein told journalists on a call. “We want to make a step forward in this area.”

The Swiss Bank Employees Union on Tuesday urged the bank to avoid dismissals at least until the end of 2020 and criticised it for announcing restructuring during great economic uncertainty and despite solid financial results.

Helfenstein said the bank would do its best to offer affected personnel – primarily in the region of Aargau but also elsewhere in Switzerland – new roles, adding further positions would be generated as the bank reinvests in its digital push.

Further details on the bank’s digital plan and branch revamp – which will focus more on servicing clients with stronger advisory needs – will be presented in September.

($1 = 0.9113 Swiss francs)

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