December 1, 2020

BBVA will also make layoffs in Spain but rules out filing an ERE

Banco Santander, Banco Sabadell … and also BBVA. The entity chaired by Carlos Torres joins the announcements of job cuts in the Spanish banking sector this week. Although, the group, which presented its results this Friday, denies that an ERE will be convened and points out that these exits are due to a “dynamic management” of the workforce, which also includes the reconversion of workers to adapt to digitization from the bank.

The new mergers will make Spain the European country with the most layoffs in banking since the 2008 crisis

The new mergers will make Spain the European country with the most layoffs in banking since the 2008 crisis

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BBVA, compared to other Spanish banks, has not carried out any ERE, properly speaking, in recent years, but has gradually reduced the size of its workforce. This same 2020, according to the accounts presented this Friday, 750 employees have left in Spain and a total of close to 2,000 in all its markets. The group’s CEO, Onur Genç, has advanced that a similar rate to that of this year is expected for next year, although “it may accelerate a bit.” “Is the size of the workforce going to evolve? Yes, that is happening, but not much”, the manager had an impact.

These exits are taking place in parallel with the plan to adjust the branch network. Genç has reaffirmed the closure figures planned for this year, which will mean the closure of 160 branches. The manager has justified this plan to the extent that inquiries and procedures through the app are becoming more common and less in offices.

The cost adjustments mentioned by the CEO of BBVA take place in the same week in which two other large entities, Santander and Sabadell, announced staff adjustments. Specifically, the entity chaired by Ana Botín is preparing a cost reduction of 1,000 million euros in all its European markets, also in Spain, which will lead to layoffs in all these countries. The bank did not confirm the number of 3,000 Spanish employees who could leave that the newspaper ‘Expansión’ advanced, but it advanced that “soon” it will begin contacts with the unions. On the other hand, a program of early retirement and dismissal of up to 2,000 workers from Sabadell is expected, with a negotiation with the unions that will also begin in the coming days.

In these three exit processes, another two will foreseeably be incorporated, the result of the cuts linked to the mergers of financial entities. The most important will be that of CaixaBank and Bankia. The CEO of the former, Gonzalo Cortázar, has indicated in the press conference to present the results this Friday that the process will begin when the union of both entities is completed, but has avoided talking about figures by saying that first it will have to raise to unions. The other process, smaller in size, will be the one that takes place if the union of Unicaja and Liberbank, which are currently negotiating, comes to fruition.

BBVA has closed the period between January and September with losses of 15 million euros, absorbing a large part of the losses that it had reflected in the previous quarters by the provisions made to face COVID-19. With regard exclusively to Spain, the bank obtained a profit of 442 million euros, which represents a drop of 58% compared to the same period of the previous year. The bank had 2,100 million euros of provisions in June for the impacts that the pandemic may have. This figure would have increased in the last three months, although the entity has not specified the figure.

BBVA has been one of the banks identified in the market as possible protagonists of mergers in the coming months. However, Genç has insisted on the public message that the bank has conveyed this time, ensuring that they see margin for “organic” growth —without mergers— due to the increase in users of the digital channel. However, he acknowledged that the group has a team of 20 employees who are dedicated to analyzing “opportunities” in the market, without alluding to any specific, both in Spain and in other countries. The CEO points out that those options that involve “generating value” and where the figures “make sense” will be studied. What it has ruled out is the merger with another European bank in a transnational operation.


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