Dutch lender Rabobank to close branches as clients shift online

FILE PHOTO: The Rabobank logo is seen at its headquarters in Utrecht, Netherlands August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Eva Plevier

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Netherlands-based lender Rabobank will close roughly half its local branch offices in coming years to cut costs as clients switch to digital banking, it said on Thursday.

Rabobank said it hopes to relocate employees to other locations and avoid job cuts.

Business newspaper Financieele Dagblad, citing internal documents, reported earlier Thursday that there could be an unspecified number of job cuts.

Rabobank, best known internationally as an agriculture lender, cut 10,000 jobs, or roughly a fifth of its workforce, in recent years as part of cost-cutting measures.

The number of local branches will be reduced to 100-150 nationwide from a current 230, spokesman Eric Lagerwey said. Rabobank has already closed about 100 locations this year, he said.

In July, leading Dutch bank ING INGA.AS said it would close a quarter of its bank branches in the Netherlands as the pandemic has accelerated the switch to digital banking.

Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Toby Chopra