Embroiled in a money-laundering scandal, Danske Bank plans to eliminate up to 1,600 jobs in what the Nordic bank is describing as a cost-cutting move.
The news comes as the Danish bank faces investigations by regulators and lawsuits by shareholders over allegations the bank facilitated many billions of dollars in suspicious trades.
Danske, which employs 22,000 people across the world, said the cuts will come “across business units” over the next six months to a year.
The bank said it is offering employees in most departments the option of taking “voluntary redundancy agreements” and that it also hopes to meet its goal through “natural attrition” as employees leave their jobs.
“It is never easy to reduce the number of colleagues, and we will do our best to ensure that we do this in the most decent and respectful way,” said Danske Bank CEO Chris Vogelzang in a press release. “However, we need to adapt to the structural changes that the financial sector is experiencing, and to remain competitive in a low-margin and highly competitive market, we simply have to reduce our costs.”
Danske announced the planned payroll cuts as part of its “Better Bank” plan, which includes a new “commercial leadership team,” which will consist of 12 senior executives from across Danske’s various business lines and its executive team.
The new commercial leadership team will take the reins in January as part of a broader, previously announced reorganization that splits the bank into two parts: personal and business customers and large corporates and Institutions, Danske said.
Financial regulators in a number of countries, including the U.S., are investigating $235 billion in payments, many of which were flagged as suspicious, made through a small Danske branch in Estonia from 2007 to 2015, Reuters reports.
Still, Danske may avoid a large fine in the United States, or at least one that is lower than expected, since it does not have a banking license in the country.