Bank Leumi to drop 500-600 employees by year’s end

Bank Leumi to drop 500-600 employees by year’s end

Voluntary retirement plan is part of efficiency steps that have seen bank cut its workforce by 2,200 employees in 2012-2016

A Bank Leumi in Jerusalem, November 16, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
A Bank Leumi in Jerusalem, November 16, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel’s Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd. said Wednesday its board of directors has approved an additional efficiency plan that would see some 500 to 600 employees retire by the end of 2017.

The bank said the voluntary retirement plan, for what would be some 5 percent of its workforce, is part of efficiency measures taken by the bank over the last few years, which saw the lender reduce its headcount by some 2,200 employees in 2012- 2016.

This decrease in the workforce, along with further cost-cutting steps taken by the bank, has resulted in a “substantial improvement” in the lender’s cost to income ratio, which decreased to 65 percent in the first quarter of 2017 from 72% in 2012, the bank said in a statement Wednesday.

Leumi said the plan’s implementation, along with reduced operational costs and the substantial reduction in the amount of real estate being used by the bank, will further improve the bank’s cost to income ratio.

Leumi and other Israeli banks have been closing branches,cutting costs and curbing the number of loans to meet regulators’ capital requirements. New competitors are also poised to enter the fray and non-banking lenders are taking greater chunks of the credit business.

Leumi estimates that the total cost of the latest retirement plan will between NIS 500 to 600 million ($140 million-$168 million). This cost will be spread over five years, the bank said.

“Along with the focus on the bank’s core business, the continuing efficiency process, is a significant pillar in adapting the bank to the changing, competitive and dynamic environment,” Leumi’s CEO Rakefet Russak-Aminoach said. “As always, the retirement process will be carried out in consideration and full cooperation with Leumi’s employees’ representatives.”

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