MOSCOW, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Raiffeisenbank, the Russian arm of Raiffeisen Bank International, plans to close a quarter of its offices as customers switch to online services, Russia's Vedomosti newspaper quoted its chief executive Sergei Monin as saying on Friday.
An average Raiffeisenbank customer has used online services 60% more often over the last year while making 30% fewer visits to its branches, Monin told the newspaper.
This has prompted the lender to shut down 44 out of its 174 branches. Raiffeisenbank plans to spend the money it frees up by doing this on improving its IT infrastructure and developing the remaining branches, Monin said.
As it expands online services, Raiffeisenbank, Russia's 11th lender by assets according to Interfax Center for Economic Analysis, will rely more on couriers to deliver and collect papers and cards to and from customers.
Monin said the move was specific to Russia and not part of a global strategy shift within Raiffeisenbank. Despite office closures, the bank expects to significantly expand its Russian customer base in coming years, he said. (Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov, Editing by William Maclean)