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Commerzbank said to offer early retirement to 3,000 staff

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Commerzbank AG has sent out early-retirement offers to about 3,000 employees, a first key step in the German lender's plans to cut 9,600 jobs over four years, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

[FRANKURT] Commerzbank AG has sent out early-retirement offers to about 3,000 employees, a first key step in the German lender's plans to cut 9,600 jobs over four years, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

The offer entitles eligible employees born before 1962 to a 30,000 euro (S$46,418.4) sweetener, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing internal affairs. Excluding bonuses, that's anywhere from a half to a full year's pay for unionised employees, according to the people. The bank is giving some employees until the end of June to decide and others until the end of August, according to the people.

Chief executive officer Martin Zielke unveiled a turnaround strategy in September that calls for automating operations and shedding about a fifth of the workforce to cut costs after a slump in earnings.

Under his predecessor Martin Blessing, the bank eliminated 5,200 jobs to counter volatile markets and record-low interest rates. A spokesman for the bank declined to comment.

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Commerzbank's corporate-client division will be hardest hit, shrinking by about 2,400 employees at the end of 2020, according to an internal document seen by Bloomberg. That compares with 6,611 at the end of 2016. That includes transfers to other units as well as the planned spinoff of the equity markets and commodities unit.

The aim is to reduce staff at Frankfurt headquarters to 7,419 from 9,840 through 2020, the document shows.

The final numbers are likely to differ from the initial targets as they are subject to negotiations with the workers' council, another person said.

BLOOMBERG

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