BNP Paribas Fortis to close a quarter of its branches

The bank BNP Parisbas Fortis has announced the closure of 267 of its 678 branches over the next three years. At the end of last year the bank announced the closure of 62 branches. However, now it intends to close one in four of its branches and scrap 2,800 jobs. Meanwhile, 600 new staff will be recruited. 

The socialist trade union BBTK has agreed to the job cuts as there will be no compulsory redundancies.    

The job cuts have come about as customers are making use of digital banking facilities in every greater numbers. This means that they visit their bank branch far less often than was previously the case. Of the 267 bank branches ear-marked for closure between now and 2021, 86 will close this year.

The socialist white collar union BBTK says that the extra closures were within the line of its expectations. The union’s Herwig Van Doorsselaer told VRT News that "We already get the feeling that there isn’t enough expertise present in small and medium-sized branches to be able to serve customers. We are moving towards fewer, but larger branches”.  

Mr Van Doorsselaer added that only 14% exclusively use their bank branch for their banking business. The rest use a combination of the branch and the bank’s website/app. Furthermore, even after the closures 97% of Belgians will still be within a 10 minute drive of a BNP Paribas Fortis branch.     

Previously the bank had already reached agreement with unions on the shedding of 2,200 jobs. In fact 2,800 jobs are being shed while 600 new jobs are being created.    

There will be no compulsory redundancies.