July 22, 2016 / 3:06 PM / 3 years ago

Spain's BBVA considers fresh job cuts - report

MADRID, July 22 (Reuters) - Spain’s second-biggest bank BBVA is considering a fresh round of job cuts that could affect at least 2,000 people globally, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

BBVA was already known to be cutting about 1,100 jobs after its 2014 acquisition of domestic peer Catalunya Caixa, a Barcelona-based former savings bank which was bailed out after Spain’s property market crash eight years ago.

The new cuts - which would be equivalent to just under 1.5 percent of BBVA’s 137,000 staff worldwide - could affect branches as well as central services and investment banking, Bloomberg said, adding that a final decision had not been made.

A spokesman for BBVA said the bank was broadly making a push to save costs but that the only concrete redundancy plan under way was the one derived from its integration of Catalunya Caixa.

“Efficiency is an absolute priority for BBVA,” the Madrid-based spokesman said. “The one sizeable job-cutting plan that is in process is the one linked with to acquisition of Catalunya Caixa.”

Banks across Europe are under increasing pressure from historically low interest rates that are eating into margins. Spanish lenders are trying to beef up revenues after the economy emerged from a deep recession nearly three years ago, but weak demand for loans is also squeezing earnings.

Mid-sized Sabadell - which is more squarely focused on Spain than BBVA, though it also has operations in Britain - warned on Friday that its year-end profit would be lower than expected. It also said that cost cuts would be a focus of its new strategic plan, due in the coming months.

BBVA, which makes most of its money outside Spain and whose operations span Mexico and Turkey among other markets, is due to report second-quarter results on July 29.

Santander, BBVA’s larger rival, is closing around 450 branches in its home market, which according to unions could affect some 1,700 jobs.

Banco Popular, Spain’s seventh-biggest bank by market value, is considering cutting around 20 percent of its workforce, or some 3,000 jobs, Expansion newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Banco Popular said in a statement on Friday it was reviewing its operations but could not yet detail how any changes might affect its staff or office network. (Reporting by Sarah White; editing by Adrian Croft)

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