CaixaBank announces a strategic plan that includes the closure of more than 800 offices | Economy

CaixaBank announces a strategic plan that includes the closure of more than 800 offices | Economy



CaixaBank will present this morning in London its new strategy for 2019 to 2021 before international investors and the media. Among the new features is the reduction of the branch network, which is the largest in Spain, which will go from 4,461 to 3,640 in 2021. The entity talks about closing "more than 800 branches", according to the document sent this Tuesday morning to the CNMV. The closing of offices will imply a new reduction of the workforce, but the entity does not specify in the plan. Between 2011 and 2018, 14,000 bank employees have left with union agreements, as specified by the entity.

The bank says it will maintain the rural network of offices (about 1,000 in total in the town of less than 10,000 inhabitants) and that the reduction will come from the simple urban office, dedicated to mechanical operations, to increase the number of "store", offices open with format similar to a trade and that will be focused on personalized customer service with a wider opening hours to sell products.

CaixaBank claims to be the first commercial bank in Spain, both by conventional commercial clients and by digital ones, where it claims to have the leadership with 32% of the total. The entity continues this digital transformation admitting that 62% of its clients combine the usual use of the office with digital media and that only 38% are digital exclusive. Still today the first reason to choose a bank is "the proximity of the branch", says the presentation, and the goal is to transform their customers into digital users because they are more profitable when they hire more products. The entity also intends to intensify the inTouch remote service model, reaching 2.6 million customers in 2021, compared to the current 600,000.

Precisely CaixaBank is committed to investors to achieve a return on equity (ROTE) of more than 12% by 2021, according to one of the objectives that the president of the entity, Jordi Gual, and the CEO, Gonzalo Gortázar, will present analysts in London today.

Maintain dividends

The new CaixaBank roadmap draws five major strategic lines: offer the best customer experience; accelerate digital transformation; promote a culture centered on people; generate an attractive return for shareholders, maintaining financial strength, and be leaders in responsible management and commitment to society.

Under these premises, the bank intends to increase its basic business income, as well as reduce its non-strategic assets, place the delinquency ratio below 3% and maintain an attractive dividend policy for investors, with a goal of 'payout '(percentage of the profit that goes to dividends) above 50%.

CaixaBank details, in this sense, that the increase in income derived from the banking business will pivot on the growth of financing to companies, consumption and savings in the medium-long term, with an increase above the market, as detailed in the information submitted. to the CNMV, the stock market regulator.

The entity expects to achieve this objective in a more mature phase of the economic cycle, with a forecast of GDP growth for Spain and Portugal of around 2% per year in the coming years, and with a foreseeable "very gradual" increase in the rates of interest.

Even in the technological field, CaixaBank wants to bet on the use of blockchain, artificial intelligence and robotics, as well as new work methodologies that promote flexibility and improve efficiency.

In addition, over the next three years, CaixaBank has set itself the goal of boosting the talent of its staff, giving more autonomy to offices, promoting cross-cutting projects and promoting agility in making and implementing decisions.

In Portugal, the focus will be on continuing to create value in BPI, consolidate the business model and improve profitability.

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