FINANCE: Bank of Cyprus adamant about reducing staff numbers

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Bank of Cyprus appears adamant over reducing its personnel believing the introduction of digital banking has radically changed the financial landscape.

BoC CEO John Patrick Hourican said that in an era where the banking system is rapidly changing, a reduction in the number of bank employees is inevitable.

The Irish banker, stepping down in September, argues that the introduction and expansion of digital technology would in itself require a reduction of staff in the banking sector.

"It would be dishonest to say that the bank will keep employing all of its staff forever," said Hourican in an interview with Phileleftheros, pointing out that the digital transformation of the bank which begun in 2014 is now performing at a high level.

He noted that today 71% of BoC customers carry out their banking transactions electronically, from their mobile or tablet, at a time and location that they choose.

Hourican also appeared critical of the unions’ understanding of the changes brought about by the digital transformation of the banking system and their stance towards modernising the promotion system.

"I have not convinced the trade union side as regards to the need for urgent modernization of the bank. It is not logical for our staff to expect perpetual salary increases in a changing environment. We need to change. I have told the unions and I am saying it in public."

He also referred to the need to change the promotion system with the introduction of an incentive scheme for well-performing employees.

Unions are displeased with the fact that Bank of Cyprus has not renewed the collective agreement with its employees since the end of 2017.