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Bank to cut 700 jobs in new year shock for staff


THE harsh reality of modern economics struck the local banking staff at DBS Thai Danu Bank Plc yesterday, as it was announced that a rationalisation plan would scrap 35 branches, resulting in more than 700 layoffs in the first quarter of next year.

Pornsanong Tuchinda, president of DBS Thai Danu Bank (DTDB), said the rationalisation process is set to reduce the number of branches from 95 to 60. As a consequence, about 700 staff will enter the redundancy programme.

''We'll base our evaluation of the staff on job performance, skills and the ability to relocate to a new assignment. You have to realise that auto-banking will also come into play to replace manpower,'' he said.

The bank earlier embarked on an early retirement programme for its staff. In that move the number of employees dropped from 3,000 to 2,550. When the rationalisation process is implemented, the number of staff will fall to about 1,850.

Pornsanong admitted the task of job-cutting is sensitive, but it is a necessary thing to do if DTDB is to emerge as a strong bank, and to compete successfully against other banks in the future, he said.

''We used to have Bt6 trillion in good loans in the banking system. Now this has fallen in half. So the number of staff will have to fall to,'' he said.

The bank has allocated Bt400 million for upgrades to the branch network and the rationalisation process. Of this amount, Bt242 million has been, and will be used for the early retirement programmes and job cutting.

At the same time, Banthoon Lamsam, the president of the Thai Farmers Bank (TFB) also shared Pornsanong's sentiments concerning the need for Thai banks to embark on rationalisation moves.

Earlier, TFB also announced it planned to remain competitive by cutting 4,000 to 5,000 staff over the next five years.

Banthoon said there are staff at TFB who are not fit to remain because they cannot adjust to a new banking environment.

''We are looking at ways to depart from each other on friendly terms. We realise that some of them might not be suited to continuing to work for the bank. If they have to go, at least they should have something in their hands so that they can start a new life,'' Banthoon said.

Banthoon also emphasised a need for Thailand to change its culture by using job performance reports to evaluate staff efforts.

''It's time that we face the reality. If we don't do that, Thai businesses won't be able to compete against others,'' he said.





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