[PARIS] French bank Societe Generale is considering closing up to one in five branches by 2020, financial daily Les Echos said on Monday, quoting labour union sources.
SocGen, France's second-biggest listed bank, could shut down 400 branches out of the 2,221 it has in France, Les Echos said, adding that there had been no decision yet.
SocGen told Reuters it planned to close about 40 branches this year but could not confirm the number mentioned by Les Echos for the next five years. "We have already started to progressively optimise our network of branches by shutting down a few dozen per year (about 40 planned in 2015)," the bank said in an email. "We will present a detailed plan of our new 2020 model, including information on our branches, before year-end." SocGen said last week it planned to cut 420 staff in France as part of a drive to save 850 million euros (S$1.36 billion) between 2015 and 2017.
Banks across Europe are reviewing their workforce numbers with the aim of cutting costs as lending margins are squeezed.
SocGen said in 2014 it employed 51,794 people in France.