* Exact figure to be negotiated with labour representatives
* Commerzbank to revamp retail business
* Barclays, UniCredit, others also axing jobs
* Shares unchanged, underperforming sector
By Arno Schuetze and Alexander Hübner
FRANKFURT, Jan 24 Commerzbank,
Germany's second-biggest bank, plans to cut up 6,000 jobs by
2016 to try to reduce costs as part of efforts to revive its
struggling retail business.
The Frankfurt-based bank said on Thursday it would shed
4,000-6,000 full-time positions, as much as 12 percent of its
workforce. Talks with unions will start in February over the
exact number of jobs affected, which are expected to be mostly
The bank, 25 percent state-owned since a bailout in the
financial crisis, currently employs 56,000 staff at group level,
with 49,000 full-time staff.
Labour representatives condemned the cuts at Commerzbank as
unacceptable, while analysts said the bank should go further.
The cutbacks form part of a 2 billion euro ($2.66 billion)
overhaul the bank announced in November, which includes a revamp
of its retail business in Germany.
Like other European banks, Commerzbank is battling rising
costs from tough new bank rules, while risk-averse customers
have put a damper on fee income. In its retail business, margins
are under pressure from deposit wars in Germany's overcrowded
retail bank sector.
Jobs are being axed across Europe's banking industry because
of the cost of new regulation and the weak business climate.
Deutsche Bank, Switzerland's UBS and
France's BNP Paribas have announced job cuts, while
Britain's Barclays is expected to announce cutbacks
Earlier this week, sources close to UniCredit said
that the Italian bank planned to shed about 1,000 jobs at its
"The cost side is really the only area that banks have left
to control," said Bridget Gandy, Managing Director for financial
institutions at credit rating agency Fitch.
In its retail banking overhaul, Commerzbank will introduce
longer business hours at branches, requiring staff to work
shifts and be flexible about changing locations, a person
familiar with the matter said.
Some staff will see their salary cut, while certain services
will be outsourced to low-cost suppliers, the person added.
"In our retail business, we clearly have overcapacities,"
Ulrich Sieber, board member for human resources, said in a
statement. "Current staff levels are tailored to demand
estimates of 2008 and 2009 which unfortunately did not
Labour representative Beate Mensch from union Verdi said
they would seek to extend a guarantee of no forced redundancies
"The cuts are dramatic - more severe than during the
integration of Dresdner Bank into Commerzbank," a labour
representative said, referring to the merger of the two German
banks in 2009, after which 9,000 jobs were shed in total.
Analysts said the plan was not radical enough.
"The cuts are not very ambitious. I would have expected them
to be carried out faster - until 2016, that is long way off,"
said analyst Guido Hoymann from Metzler Securities.
Credit rating agency Moody's warned on Thursday that the
business environment for banks would remain challenging in 2013,
citing a fragile global economic recovery and risks from the
euro zone crisis.
Commerzbank shares were up 0.4 percent at 1.63 euros at 1148
GMT, while the banking sector was up 0.1 percent.
No jobs will go at Commerzbank's Polish BRE Bank
or at its online subsidiary Comdirect.
The 1,000 job cuts already announced for Commerzbank's
internal 'bad bank' - the group's so-called work-out unit for
non-core assets - are included in the 6,000 figure announced on
Separately, German insurer Allianz said on
Thursday that it was closing down its retail banking unit
Allianz Bank - which amassed losses of 400 million
euros over the last three years - resulting in the loss of 450
jobs in Germany.