Commerzbank to Permanently Close 200 Branches Shut for Pandemic
(Bloomberg) -- Commerzbank AG will permanently close 200 branches that it had shut earlier this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, accelerating a plan to eliminate a fifth of its locations.
The decision was communicated to staff on Friday, according to people familiar with the matter. It allows the bank to reach its target for branch closures three years ahead of the original deadline.
Commerzbank’s departing Chief Executive Officer Martin Zielke last year announced new cost savings that included shuttering about 200 branches by the end of 2023, out of an existing network of about 1,000. A former retail banker, Zielke had earlier vowed to maintain the brick-and-mortar network. He has said he changed his mind because clients increasingly adopt online banking.
The lender will reopen 150 other branches over the coming weeks, lifting the total number of open branches to 600, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing the private information. The remaining 200 branches will open at a later point in time.
Zielke in early July resigned from his post after criticism from his top shareholders. Commerzbank’s new supervisory board Chairman Hans-Joerg Vetter is currently looking for a new CEO. Zielke has said he’ll leave by the end of the year or when a successor has been found.
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