Spanish bank BBVA to start job cut talks on Friday

MADRID, April 13 (Reuters) - Spanish bank BBVA will formally kick off negotiations on Friday to cut staff in Spain to better cope with stubbornly low interest rates and a shift towards online banking, it said on Tuesday in a letter to employees.

BBVA, which declined to disclose the number of jobs likely to be affected, said that layoffs would take place both at its corporate centre in Madrid and across its retail network in Spain.

The bank, which has about 29,300 employees in Spain and roughly 123,000 globally, said it needs to reduce costs in the face of growing competition from fintech companies offering online banking services.

In February Spanish newspaper Expansion reported that BBVA was considering cutting about 3,000 jobs in its home market.

Labour union CCOO declined to comment on the BBVA cost-cutting plan.

In January the bank’s chief executive, Onur Genc, told analysts the lender was looking at potential cost cuts for low-growth areas “including a fast restructuring programme (in Spain)” in the first half of 2021.

Spanish and European lenders are pursuing different strategies to cut costs, either through tie-ups or on a standalone basis, as they also grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Caixabank has already begun negotiations with unions to cut staff in Spain after its acquisition of state-owned lender Bankia. (Reporting by Jesús Aguado Editing by Inti Landauro and David Goodman)