Spain’s Banco Popular to Cut Up to 3,000 Jobs, Close Branches

  • Job cuts represent 20% of workforce, to close 300 branches
  • Bank says plan will improve profitability, efficiency

Banco Popular Espanol SA plans to cut as many as 3,000 jobs to cut costs after it was forced to raise funds to absorb real estate losses.

Popular will inform union representatives of the restructuring plan at a meeting on Tuesday, the Madrid-based bank said in an e-mailed statement. The plan to trim its staff by about 20 percent includes the closure of about 300 branches out of its network of more than 2,000.

The bank’s new Chief Executive Officer Pedro Larena is pressing ahead with the lender’s new business plan announced in May when the bank raised 2.5 billion euros ($2.8 billion) to purge real estate from its balance sheet. The job cuts are meant to improve profitability and efficiency, the company said.

The stock has slumped 60 percent this year, the largest decliner in Spain’s benchmark IBEX 35 stock index. Popular follows Banco Santander SA, Spain’s largest lender, which earlier this year announced the closure of hundreds of branches and cut 1,400 jobs in its home market.

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