Italy's UBI bank to shed 1,500 jobs, some branches

MILAN Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:52pm EDT

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's No. 5 bank by assets UBI Banca (UBI.MI) said on Wednesday it was cutting or downsizing more than 100 branches and shedding 1,500 jobs in an effort to reach annual cost savings worth 115 million euros ($141.04 million) as of 2014.

UBI, which has a market share of 6 percent in Italy, is the latest Italian bank to embark on a major restructuring as the euro zone crisis and a deep recession is forcing local banks to rethink their traditional business model.

The job cuts represent 8 percent of UBI's total work force.

Larger peer Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS.MI) announced last month a 'blood-and-tears' restructuring plan while UniCredit and Intesa are already taking steps to reduce their overall number of bank branches.

UBI Chief Executive Victor Massiah had told Reuters the bank was planning an overhaul of its organizational structure in an exclusive interview on July 6.

The restructuring plan will allow the bank to achieve cost savings of 70 million euros already next year.

The bank plans to sell or close 44 bank offices and downsize another 78. Its network of 1,800 bank branches is Italy's fourth-largest.

In its statement, UBI also said it would cut by 20 percent the cost of maintaining its executive board and various managing committees by reducing the number of board and committee members and cutting salaries.

($1 = 0.8154 euros) (Reporting by Lisa Jucca; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

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