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Danske Bank Pushes Ahead With Job Cuts

Tom Burroughes

27 November 2020

yesterday said it has laid off 257 employees across the organisation as part of its 2023 plan to reduce costs, a move that was flagged in October. The Copenhagen-based lender is recovering from a damaging scandal over anti-money laundering control failings linked to the Baltic region.

The bank said that in addition to the layoffs, 261 employees in Denmark have applied for and been granted a voluntary redundancy agreement. The layoffs and voluntary redundancies form part of the discontinuation of up to 1,600 positions over a period of six to 12 months announced in October.

The job cuts compare with a total payroll of more than 22,000 people.

“We are undertaking a major transformation to adapt to the structural changes that are happening in the financial sector. That requires us to reduce costs significantly and, sadly, we cannot avoid layoffs in this connection,” Karsten Breum, member of the executive leadership team of Danske Bank and head of human resources, said. 

“We continue to look at all cost types and other measures to reduce the number of layoffs necessary, just as we make every effort to carry out the discontinuation of positions in the most respectful and considerate way we can," Breum said.

Of the total 257 positions that are discontinued, 155 are in Denmark, 26 in Norway, 35 in Sweden and 41 in Finland.

In September Danske said it was setting up a commercial leadership team. The new simplified structure with two business units – Personal and Business Customers and Large Corporates and Institutions – takes effect from January 2021, at which time the new CLT will also be established.

The past decade has been a troubled one for the group. Danske replaced its chief executive and made a number of other changes in the wake of a money laundering episode centred on the Baltic state of Estonia. The affair snowballed into a broader European money laundering episode, raising calls for tougher AML controls across the European Union. In May 2019 the lender appointed Chris Vogelzang, a former senior figure at ABN AMRO, as its new chief executive. He took over from interim CEO Jesper Nielsen who had held the position after the resignation of Thomas F Borgen in 2018.