• Bank plans to cut 550 jobs in retail-banking support functions
  • Bank will try and avoid forced departures under the overhaul

Societe Generale SA plans to deepen job reductions at its main French retail unit as part of a wider overhaul to cut costs as more customers switch to online banking services.

The lender will eliminate 550 jobs in retail-banking support functions such as loans processing through 2020, while seeking to avoid forced departures, it said in a plan presented to labor unions on Wednesday. Societe Generale had previously announced plans to cut 2,000 jobs, or 7 percent of the workforce, at the retail unit.

European banks are under pressure to reduce the number of branches as customers increasingly switch to online services. Societe Generale, France’s second-biggest lender by market value, has said it plans to reduce its domestic network by 20 percent to 1,800 outlets by 2020, while investing 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in digital services as it targets some 100,000 new customers a year.

The revamp will include the reduction of customer-transaction processing platforms to 14 French locations from 20, Societe Generale said.

The shares rose 0.4 percent to 35.14 euros at 9:56 a.m. in Paris. They have decreased about 17 percent this year.

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