Sweden's largest bank, Sevnska Handelsbanken, is downsizing its branch network and workforce while vowing to invest SEK1 billion in IT over the next two years.
The bank says the trend to digital finance is accelerating, forcing a rethink of the its brick and mortar presence on the high street.
Under the plan, the branch network will be reduced from 380 outlets to 200 by the end of 2021. The remaining branches will operate as a hub for corporate and private banking customers with devolved authority for approving transactions delegated to specialist bank staff.
As a result, the bank intends to cull 1000 staff, while allocating SEK1 billion on IT spend "in order to take its digital customer offering to an entirely new level".
Svenska Handelsbanken says it will make a fourth quarter provision for expenses estimated at approximately SEK1.5 billion to cover the costs of the transition.