Iceland bank Íslandsbanki cuts 42 jobs

Íslandsbanki announced the layoffs of 42 employees at its headquarters and at Byr savings bank, 16 men and 26 women, yesterday, which is part of rationalization plans due to the merger of the two banks, Guðný Helga Herbertsdóttir, information officer at Íslandsbanki explained.

In addition to the layoffs, a termination agreement has been made with 21 employees. Guðný said these people had either already resigned or were about to retire. Further layoffs are planned due to merger of branches in the New Year, she added.

Eight of the branches of the merged Íslandsbanki and Byr are set to drop to four; those in Reykjanesbær, Hafnarfjörður and Akureyri will be merged and the operations of Byr in Borgartún in Reykjavík will be relocated to Íslandsbanki’s headquarters, Morgunblaðið reports.

“This is of course bad news,” commented Friðbert Traustason, chairman of the Confederation of Icelandic Bank and Finance Employees (SSF).

The layoffs did not come as a surprise, Friðbert said, as Íslandsbanki had announced that the number of employees would be reduced with the acquisition of Byr. However, the timing is unfortunate, he added, right before Christmas.

Since the banking collapse in 2008 it has often been mentioned that Iceland’s financial system is too big and employs too many people. But Friðbert states such claims are far from the truth. “Now the number [of employees] is down to what it was in 1992-2003.”

Friðbert said that in the past three years members of SSF have decreased by approximately 2,000, which makes up 35 percent of bankers and financial employees in early 2008. Of those who have lost their jobs, 80 percent are women.

A statement from Íslandsbanki reads that employees who have been made redundant will receive assistance in finding new jobs and are entitled to psychological support.

Source: Iceland review