HANDELSBLATT EXCLUSIVE Commerzbank Plans Nearly 8,000 Layoffs, Says Works Council

Labor representatives at the bank say management has detailed plans to lay off 7,800 people in Germany as part of an ambitious restructuring plan. Virtually every department at the bank will be affected by the reorganization.

Management has finally informed the labor side at Commerzbank about its restructuring plans, and the news isn't good for employees in Germany.

The country's second-largest bank plans to lay off 7,800 employees in its home market, according to an internal document from the company’s works council obtained by Handelsblatt.

The works council, which represents Commerzbank’s employees, writes that virtually every department will be affected by the restructuring, from the retail and corporate business to credit-risk management and IT.

“Many more employees will be affected by the restructuring,” the works council writes. Some tasks will be automated while others will be consolidated in other departments or outsourced completely. Commerzbank retail locations could also be closed.

Management at Commerzbank, for its part, declined to confirm concrete numbers or discuss the status of the negotiations with labor representatives.

“Concrete results will come after the conclusion of negotiations,” a Commerzbank spokeswoman said. The bank did emphasize that it plans to hold on to its 1,000 retail locations, which it views as a prerequisite for meeting its growth goals.

Last fall, Commerzbank Chief Executive Martin Zielke announced a sweeping reorganization of the bank through 2020. The restructuring is projected to cost more than €1 billion.

Under the plan, the bank’s medium-size business unit and capital market operations will be integrated into a single unit. Moving forward, Commerzbank will focus on two broad fields of business, a corporate banking segment and a retail and small business segment.

In the retail and small business segment, Commerzbank hopes to grow its base of customers to more than 14 million. It also wants to attract new customers in the corporate banking division.

At the end of 2016, Commerzbank had 50,000 employees, about 12,400 of whom are based abroad.