Job cuts spread to west coast bank

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Sparebanken Vest, a regional bank serving customers mostly in western Norway, announced on Tuesday it will be shutting down branches and laying off as many as 100 employees. Bank officials say the advent of online banking services has sharply reduced the need for bank offices.

Norwegians have responded in great numbers to the banks’ calls to use digital banking services, meaning that fewer and fewer need to visit their local branches.  “When we look at just the last three months of last year, only 5 percent of our customers were actually inside one of our branches,” said Lars Ove Breivik, information chief for Sparebanken Vest. He added that the number of manual transactions conducted inside a bank branch fell 78 percent last year.

The bank is thus seizing the opportunity to cut costs, closing nine branches and eliminating 100 jobs. Seven of the branches are in Hordaland County: Manger, Mastrevik, Ågotnes, Sund, Fitjar, Dale and Samnanger. Branches at Hinna in Rogaland and Selje in Sogn og Fjordane will also be closed.

The bank will be left with 35 branches. Jobs will be cut both at the closed branches and among administrative personnel at the bank’s headquarters in Bergen.

newsinenglish.no staff