French bank SocGen to cut 640 jobs in France, no forced redundancies

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Societe Generale is seen on the headquarters at the financial and business district of La Defense near Paris, France, February 4, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) - French bank Societe Generale (SocGen) SOGN.PA said on Monday it planned a net reduction of about 640 positions in France but said there would be no forced redundancies.

The bank, which employs more than 138,000 staff in 62 countries, said the plan would concern market activities and associated functions and would help reduce costs by about 450 million euros (405.7 million pounds) by 2022-2023.

French business newspaper Les Echos reported on Sunday that the cuts would be mainly in the investment banking division.

The bank said that, as the banking sector’s structural challenges are exacerbated by the COVID-19 health crisis, it needed to boost the firm’s efficiency and profitability.

SocGen said it wanted to reduce the risk profile of the credit and equity structured products business, which will concern market activities and associated functions.

It added that its securities services business and several central functions such as risk, compliance, human resources and communication were also considering organisational adjustments.

To avoid forced redundancies, the bank would encourage employee mobility or offer voluntary departures when necessary. The bank said on Thursday it had returned to profit in the third quarter, helped by a recovery in its markets business, after accelerating efforts to overhaul retail and markets activities following two consecutive quarterly losses.

Reporting by GV De Clercq; Editing by Edmund Blair