Commerzbank Plans 4,300 Job Cuts, Sale Of Stake In Polish Lender As Part Of ‘Strategic Review’

Six months after a possible merger with German rival Deutsche Bank floundered, Commerzbank has apparently come up with a new plan to mollify anxious shareholders.

To wit, the bank is considering whether to cut 4,300 jobs as part of its new “strategic plan” to try and bolster the banks profits after its share price hit an all-time low. 

The headcount reduction would be softened by the hiring of another 2,000 people in “strategic areas”, making for a net headcount reduction of just 2,300.

During the review, Commerzbank also raised the possibility of selling a stake in its Polish “MBank” unit – a sale that would free up cash, Bloomberg reports, while Commerzbank would absorb MBank’s Comdirect online brokerage unit.

Commerzbank executives said the firm-wide job cuts were “regrettable but inevitable,” and that the sale of a piece of MBank would reduce risk-weighted assets by €17 billion ($18.7 billion).

Commerzbank also plans to trim the number of branches by 200 to just 800 worldwide, according to Reuters.

These draft measures will be discussed at a meeting of Commerzbank’s supervisory board on Sept. 25 and Sept. 26, as no final decisions have been made.

The bank’s quest to revive its share price has taken on additional urgency after its shares hit a record low last month amid a German economic contraction that is making traders increasingly nervous.

Commerzbank CEO Martin Zielke has already given up on some of the original targets for his turnaround plan, which is expected to run through 2020. Initially, the plan had aimed to reduce global headcount by 7,300. But the bank this year revised that number to less than 5,300.

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