Montepio closes 31 branches
Montepio Bank is to downscale the number of branches it has to adjust to what it calls “a new cycle”.
It has told staff that it will “merge” 31 geographically redundant branches in a move which its president Pedro Leitão says will “meet the challenges of the new (economic and digital) context” resulting from Covid-19.
The aim is to fast-track digitalisation and up the institution’s efficiency. Since 2014, when it had 5,250 branches, it had closed around 1000 by 2018 when it had 4,054.
The bank has not yet said which branches will close and how many staff will be transferred or even lose their jobs.
“The competitive climate in banking has changed substantially in recent years,” Leitão told online news source ECO.
“While the regular introduction of regulations together with historically low interest rates are good for customers, these also pose a huge challenge for the banks,” he said.
“The situation regarding customer relations and their expectations on services offered has developed considerably, affected by technological changes and digital platforms, changes in which the banks have kept pace,” he said.
Referring to a new paradigm, he said that the bank would slash its number of branches by 10%. By March this year it only had 328 branches.
The mutual bank has had a rough ride over the past year, with profits tumbling by 17% in the first quarter of 2020 to €5.4 million which, together with impairments from dealing with the Covid-19 crisis, have reached €15 million.