MILAN Jan 15 Italy's biggest retail bank,
Intesa Sanpaolo, is extending the opening hours of its
main branches to boost productivity and reduce the number of
jobs it is cutting to improve profits.
Intesa said that as of January, 100 of its branches would be
open until 8 pm (1900 GMT) during the week and on Saturday
morning. By June, the longer opening hours would apply to 500
This is part of a deal with unions announced in October
which will save around 1,000 jobs that were at risk after Intesa
said it would close or merge nearly a fifth of its Italian
network of 5,100-5,200 branches.
Most Italian banks are shut on Saturdays and close to the
public at 1445 GMT during the week.
Italian banks are under pressure to cut costs and reduce
branch networks to revive weak profitability and adapt to the
rising popularity of Internet banking.
Some 19,000 job cuts have already been announced in the
Intesa said that as part of the new plan its investment
advisers would be able to visit customers at home or at the
(Reporting By Silvia Aloisi. Editing by Jane Merriman)