Greece's Piraeus bank aims to cut around 1,500 jobs: source

ATHENS Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:18pm EDT

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ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's second-biggest bank, Piraeus (BOPr.AT), has launched a voluntary redundancy scheme aimed at cutting around 1,500 jobs in a drive to cut costs after taking over assets from smaller rivals, a source at the bank told Reuters on Friday.

"The continuing tough economic conditions ... call for the bank to adjust its operations to the situation," the bank said in a document seen by Reuters.

The document also said the voluntary redundancy scheme would be open until September 2.

Piraeus, which employs about 18,000 people, declined to comment.

Greece's top four banks - Piraeus, Alpha (ACBr.AT), National (NBGr.AT) and Eurobank (EURBr.AT) - completed a 27.5 billion euro ($36 billion) recapitalization last month to restore their solvency after a hit from writedowns on government debt and bad loans.

After plugging a 7.3 billion euro capital hole last month, Piraeus has a core Tier 1 capital adequacy ratio of 14.5 percent, the highest among the country's four banks.

Last year, Piraeus bought smaller lender Geniki (GHBr.AT) from Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) and the healthy part of ailing state lender ATEbank (AGBr.AT).

Earlier this year, Piraeus also acquired the Greek branches of Cypriot lenders Bank of Cyprus BOC.CY, Cyprus Popular CPBC.CY and Hellenic Bank HBNK.CY to shield the country from the island's crisis.

Last month, it concluded the acquisition of the Greek assets of Portugal's Millenium BCP (BCP.LS) as well.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Deepa Babington and Mark Potter)

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