ABN Amro to lay off 2,800 people, to digitise

15% of the Dutch bank’s workforce will be asked to leave, as automation takes over

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As part of cost-cutting measures, ABN Amro plans to lay off about 15 per cent of its workforce. This means, about 2,800 people will be asked to leave, from its currently 19,000-strong workforce. The move is expected to save about €700 million in costs over the next four years. The Bank also hopes to digitise in a big way, which will automate most of the basic operations — about 90 per cent of high-volume processes.

The Dutch bank will restrict its international operations to northwestern Europe and focus mainly on the Netherlands. The Bank’s expenses are hoped to come down to €4.7 billion per year post the layoffs, with most clients embracing digitisation and the number of branches being reduced.

This is not the first time the Bank is slashing jobs. It has asked thousands of employees to leave ever since a crisis had forced the Dutch government to intervene and provide assistance. At the time it had a bigger workforce of over 100,000 across the world. The Dutch government continues to have a 56 per cent stake in the Bank.

In August 2020, it had decided to quit from Brazil, Australia, Asia and the US. The plan was to continue only clearing operations and stop all trade and commodity financing. This move itself will slash about 800 jobs, while other departments will be trimmed in two years’ time. Care will be taken to minimise the impact on the workforce, through natural attrition and reskilling in positions where there may be shortages.

The Bank hopes to function with a leaner staff, whose roles will become more challenging as automation takes over.

ABN Amro will also go over its real-estate costs, considering remote working is here to stay. It is looking at selling off its head office and taking part of it on lease.