Banco Montepio’s restructuring program is already in the hands of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, SOL knows. This is one of the conditions required for the financial institution to have the status of a company undergoing restructuring, which allows anyone who accepts termination by mutual agreement to be entitled to unemployment benefit. And with that, move forward with its plan to close branches and reduce the number of workers that, according to what SOL learned, has already received the endorsement of Banco de Portugal. At issue is the departure of 804 workers and the closing of 80 branches.
In an internal note sent to workers, the chairman and CEO admitted that “the times we live in are challenging and uncertain” and confirm the departure of between 600 and 900 workers. SOL knows that this situation is already causing internal discomfort, since Banco Montepio’s chairman only had access to the information that was sent to the regulator about an hour before. Carlos Tavares also criticized the content sent to the agency now led by Mário Centeno for understanding that it not only deserved more care but should also contain the minutes of the meetings at which the topic was discussed.
According to what SOL learned, the bank led by Pedro Leitão answered some questions raised by Banco de Portugal, regarding the cost reduction plan without consulting the board of directors, which only later had access to clarifications sent by the institution financial.
In fact, these issues led the board of directors to meet this Thursday. A meeting that went on into the night and started again this Friday.
The news of a reduction in structure did not go down well with the president of the National Union of Cadres and Banking Technicians. To SOL, Paulo Marcos guarantees that this reduction is of “magnitude never seen in Europe”. It also regrets that there is no interlocutor in the negotiations and questions where the 20% rule is being applied 20. «Does the Bank propose to cut more than 20% of workers and does it not reduce its administration in parallel?», He asks.
This week, the National Union of Banking Technical Staff, the Union of Northern Bankers and the Independent Banking Union were meeting with the bank’s executive management. And, in a meeting with Pedro Leitão, they clarified only that he was presenting “a restructuring project that contemplates an extended plan for early retirements and termination of employment contracts by mutual agreement that will run until 2021”, but without quantifying how many employees will leave bank entity.
UGT also had already classified this measure as “a miserable attitude”, announcing that bank workers’ unions are going to take to the streets to protest. «The Government must look at this with the eyes of seeing and understanding whether or not there is a criminal hand here, which led to harmful management and that now the big victims are always the same, they are the workers. We do not accept it ”, said the secretary general of UGT.
Montepio’s official source said only that it is known that the bank “is adjusting processes and studying its size, as it was shared with employees and their structures”.
It should be recalled that in June the bank had announced that Montepio had decided to close 31 bank branches as part of a strategy that involves strengthening the provision of digital services. «Banco Montepio will accelerate the digital transition, towards a new relationship paradigm, while adjusting to the challenges of a new context, with the objectives of accelerating the digital transition, adjusting the service model and increasing efficiency» , he said at the time.
He also indicated that he intended to “implement new concepts and new ways of working that value collaboration and flexibility, promoting a greater balance between personal and professional life”.
Banco Montepio had losses of 51.3 million euros in the first half, which compares with profits of 3.6 million euros in the same period of 2019.
Most financial institutions, in the name of the crisis and new customer needs, have drastically reduced their structures over the past ten years. And the numbers speak for themselves: about 13 thousand fewer workers and almost 1,800 branches in this period alone in the main five banks operating in Portugal.
Taking into account the data presented by the five largest banks between 2010 and up to the first quarter of this year, BCP lost 2,953 workers and 391 branches. BPI reduced 4,663 employees and 499 branches, while Santander had 215 fewer branches, but the number of employees increased by 321. Caixa Geral de Depósitos reduced 2,606 workers and 318 branches. A scenario that gained greater prominence in the last 10 years with BES and, later, with Novo Banco, whose structure fell by 2,115 in terms of workers and 356 in branches.
Numbers that end up contracting the results obtained. Despite the reduction compared to the previous year, together, Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Santander Totta, BCP and BPI profited 540.5 million in the first six months of the year – still, a 41% decrease compared to the same period of the year. last year. Only Novo Banco countered this trend by presenting losses of 555.3 million.
What is certain is that the increase in margins – in which commissions are the engine of bank accounts -, the breakdown of impairments and an effort to contain expenses, namely in terms of personnel and structures, is the formula to ‘save’ the results of financial institutions.