On the day Banco Santander Totta presented its results for the first quarter of 2021, when it posted a 71.2% decline compared to the same period last year, to € 34.2 million, the bank’s chief executive, Pedro Castro and Almeida, wrote to his aides. Explaining the need to reduce the number of employees.
“The results illustrate a lot of what we expected about the bank and the reality in which we live,” says the note, which the Journal Economics was able to access.
“In this quarter, we achieved a result of 34 million euros, 71% less than the same period last year, including this result saving 164.5 million euros, aimed at covering the costs of our transformation program,” the internal memo said.
The bank says it “maintains its resilience and resilience in the face of a very negative activity context”, as interest rates remain and will remain negative for a long time; Where there is rapid adoption of digital channels by customers and the entry of new players; Whereas, the cost of credit, although controlled, will surely suffer from the effects of the epidemic and greater difficulties for clients.
“It’s about the transformation program that I’m talking to you about today,” says the CEO. Pedro Castro e Almeida recalls that “as everyone knows, since the end of last September the bank has accelerated the branch consolidation program, at the same time that it implemented planning changes in the network, which implies advanced cash points and this, for this reason, is no longer Linked to the permanent cash function. “
Since their jobs in this program were terminated, several employees assigned to these branches have been approached with proposals to leave the bank. “So far, among the employees contacted who were assigned to the branches that were merged or the subject of the intervention, many of them responded positively, but there were others who did not accept the offers made by the bank,” reveals the banker.
“Regarding this situation, today we started contacts with the representative structure of workers, to inform them that we intend to initiate unilateral measures to reduce the number of bank employees, legally,” declared Santander President of Portugal.
This has already led to criticism from the Professional Staff Union and banks.
“In this unilateral action, which we started today, I reiterate what we have always advocated: This is the last resort, as we cannot fail to take measures that ensure the future strength of the bank and its sustainability for all other employees,” says the bank official.
Pedro Castro e Almeida also says in the internal memo to employees that, “In addition to changes in the organization of the commercial network, we also approved in March a program, which is now general and targets all employees 55 years of age or older, that will be offered until June, depending on the particular situation of each An employee, proposing to terminate by mutual agreement or, whenever possible, early retirement. ”
“From the data we have today, I also expect that the results of the 55+ years plan are unlikely, in and of themselves, to be sufficient to eliminate the need for more contacts to leave the bank by the end of the year,” the CEO reveals.
The bank’s chief executive says it is currently completing “implementing new processes and operational improvements that will mean the completion of an additional set of jobs in the bank, later this year”.
For this reason, “we are currently working on a formal restructuring plan, which will be presented in June, and will contain the additional need to reduce jobs and jobs,” the bank president revealed.
“The final number of employees covered and the fields in question can only be achieved, as I said, with the completion of the +55 years plan in June, depending on the results obtained,” he adds.
Pedro Castro e Almeida states that “These measures are not limited to our bank: the entire European banking sector implements transformation programs to ensure its sustainability. These measures are a result of the low profitability that European banks have maintained in recent years and, above all, the aforementioned change in the behavior of our customers. “.
“The truth is that we read every day the news of cuts by thousands of employees in the largest European groups, including the most profitable groups, and we know the commitment that Grupo Santander has made to reduce about 1,000 million euros in costs, and the Portuguese bank president said in a statement that the banks are in Poland, the United Kingdom, and Spain are applying very deep cuts to their workforce.
“In our case, the merging of Banif and Banco Popular were two successful moments in our history, but they delayed the course of our transformation.” Pedro Castro e Almeida remembers, as Pedro Castro e Almeida remembers, we also have a very complex structure, with many counters and repeats in many areas.
The person in charge of the bank says that “our customers today want remote access to the bank at any time, for any product or service, with immediate and automatic contracts, and at low cost,” adding that “this means a very large investment in improving our IT processes and systems, at the expense of The need for such a large physical presence. Without this adaptation, we will lose ground every day to our competitors, who today are not only banks, and we have a responsibility to create a bank that is more flexible and adapted to the new era. ”
“The bank is us. I use this expression intentionally, when I start a period when many of our employees leave the bank,” the CEO says, adding that “I talk daily to many of these employees, and I leave here the same message that I send everyone publicly. Thank you very much for the years of dedication and work, and the commitment that I have provided to you in the best possible conditions, and the determination to be able to contribute to supporting the search for a new stage in your life.
The bank guarantees SAMS and other privileges to those who leave
“For all these employees, our obligations are to ensure that each of them obtains the best possible exit conditions; to ensure that these conditions include the possibility of early retirement or fair monetary compensation and are much higher than what is legally prescribed; to maintain many of the conditions applied as employees in the bank, such as Credit and protection conditions, particularly in the most difficult situations of low-income families and children with disabilities, in accessing higher education, in addition to providing a set of additional conditions, such as a full external placement program that will help in life after the bank; In the case of employees affiliated with trade unions accepted to sign a protocol with the bank, SAMS maintenance.
Pedro Castro e Almeida also leaves a message to “other employees, those who will remain,” saying that he wants to “remember that the bank we have today is the result of the work of generations, and that we have a special duty of loyalty and respect, not only to those who have come before us, but also to all those who They left the bank this year. “
“It is our duty to pass on to the next generation a bank that adapts to the times in which we live in, sustainable, and above all, a bank that remains strong and able to continue serving its purpose of supporting families and companies in our country,” says the bank’s CEO, who confirms that this is the mission that He has to perform.
Banco Santander Totta ended 2020 with 5,980 employees, 208 fewer than the previous year, and with a total of 443 branches, 62 fewer than 2019.
In Spain, Banco Santander will lose 5,000 people, although net layoffs amount to 3,572 due to the effect of reallocation.