Reducing Costs Commerzbank to Cut 376 Accounting Jobs

Germany's second-largest bank plans to cut nearly half of its in-house financial accounting department and transfer the jobs to a lower-cost location in eastern Germany.
Cuts at Comerzbank will hit the finance department hard.

 

Big cuts are ahead at the in-house financial accounting department of Commerzbank, the second-largest bank in Germany.

Commerzbank’s finance department and the workers’ council have agreed to cut nearly half of the jobs at the accounting unit and shift the workers to a lower-cost unit, Handelsblatt has learned.

The bank's finance chief, Stephan Engels, plans to cut 45 percent of 800 jobs in the department by the end of 2018 and shift the positions to ComTS, a unit in Halle that is not governed by collective labor agreements.

We were only able to ease the impact of the changes on those affected. Gabriele Seum, Chairman workers' council

Commerzbank confirmed to Handelsblatt that 376 positions will be cut in Frankfurt, Berlin and Duisburg and the finance department’s units in Berlin and Duisburg will be closed by 2017.

The bank cited increased regulatory requirements, which have raised costs. Commerzbank cannot keep raising personnel costs without limit, Mr. Engels wrote in a statement on the bank's Intranet that was seen by Handelsblatt.

The closures in Berlin and Duisburg will mean the loss of 50 jobs in each location. In Frankfurt there will be three waves of job cuts, removing 275 full time positions by the end of 2018, the bank said.

The work in the future in Halle will be routine, while strategic activities will remain in Frankfurt.

The bank plans to advertise the posts internally. The affected employees in Berlin, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt would have to relocate to keep their jobs, and Commerzbank offered no guarantee they will receive the same pay.

They would likely have to accept lower pay at ComTS in Halle.

“The negotiations were very, very difficult,” said Gabriele Seum, the chairman of the bank’s workers' council.

Mr. Seum said the workers’ council had been unable to prevent the bank from cutting jobs and shifting the positions to Halle. “We were only able to ease the impact of the changes on those affected,” he said.

The workers’ council received some concessions over the timing of the cuts. Initially, the bank wanted to close Berlin and Duisburg by end of 2015. The restructuring in Frankfurt had originally been planned for the end of 2017.

Also, the council negotiated to keep 112 jobs Commerzbank had planned to cut and won concessions on severance pay for those over the next three months agree to leave Commerzbank. These workers will receive their gross salary for five months and a €25,000, or $28,600 one-time payout, in addition to the benefits of the original severance agreement.

 

Yasmin Osman is part of Handelsblatt's banking team and covers the industry from Frankfurt. To contact the author: [email protected]