(Adds group-level context and details on planned Swiss reductions)
By Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi
ZURICH, Nov 29 (Reuters) - BNP Paribas is considering laying off around 250 employees in Switzerland, France's biggest bank said on Friday, blaming "major challenges" in the Swiss financial environment and as it seeks to cut costs group-wide.
The bank said it has begun an employee consultation period, which will to run through Jan. 14, to consider measures that could reduce the number of job cuts which will be implemented in 2020 and 2021.
"BNP Paribas in Switzerland, like other banks, currently finds itself facing major challenges: negative rates, a contraction in margins and a speeding-up of technology investments, all against the backdrop of a contrasted global growth environment within Europe," it said.
"The plan is part of a wider transformation currently under way at Group level and would allow BNP Paribas (Suisse) SA to increase its efficiency, in particular by better leveraging the synergies provided through the Group," it added.
The French lender earlier this year cut its profitability target for 2020 and announced cost cuts in corporate and investment banking under market conditions that have seen many other European lenders also struggle.
It now plans to reduce its Swiss headcount--from roughly 1,400--by cutting corporate and institutional banking, as well wealth management jobs, primarily in Geneva.
The reductions will affect both front and back office work, it said. (Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi, editing by John Revill)