The numbers for bank volunteers – Why they are made

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By Leonidas Stergiou

With the voluntary departures of Piraeus Bank and the National Bank, which are completed at the end of the month and in mid-December, respectively, another round of reduction of the banks’ staff is completed, aiming at cost rationalization, more efficient utilization of the network, digital transition and banking transformation.

In the digital and banking transformation of Greek banks, only jobs that require emotional intelligence will be provided by people, the rest, through technology. Thus, the role of the store changes and from a main point of transaction turns into a meeting point of man and technology. Its role is being upgraded, it is becoming more consulting, it is called to solve specialized problems and to remain the main point of sale of products and customer retention.

Pandemics and lockdowns have accelerated the digital transition and consumer behavior of bank customers. Now, more than 95% of transactions are carried out through digital networks, ie through internet banking and mobile banking, with the latter “running” at a very fast pace.

Banks are reducing the number of employees and branches, trying to find the best point between human resources, costs, investments, technology and physical presence. Also, from the data collected by the supervisory authorities and the European Banking Authority (EBA), Greek banks appear to have the highest costs.

New departures

This exercise has led the banks in the last three years to reduce the number of employees by 5,500 and to reduce the number of branches by at least 250, while more than 4,000 departures are expected by the end of 2023 and the closure of at least 200 branches. This estimate results from the target for up to 6,000 staff and up to 300 branches from each bank.

There have also been staff reductions from sales and carve-outs, such as those of red loans or cards. The reduction from voluntary exits is estimated at around 3,000 employees and from carve-outs at 2,600.


These departures come from voluntary departures, with total compensations ranging from 150,000 euros to 200,000 euros. These programs are mainly aimed at employees of stores, network addresses and other administrative services over 40 years. The programs usually offer options for immediate retirement or long-term paid leave and several surcharges depending on age and years of work.

In addition, they offer insurance coverage, medical coverage and continuation of loans from their banks on favorable terms as bank employees. Training packages are also provided.


National Bank

In 2021, 200 people left the National Bank, as a continuation of a voluntary exit program that had started in 2019 and was reactivated in November 2020. In total, 900 people left that program.

The current program of voluntary departure of the National Bank is aimed at about 800 people. Thus, it is estimated that the number of employees will be reduced to around 7,000 (from 7,822 in 2020), while its stores will have been reduced to 327 from 371 in 2020.

Piraeus Bank

The deadline for the second voluntary exit program of Piraeus Bank expires tomorrow. It was preceded by one in June and followed by a second in November. In the first, the goal was to reduce staff by about 500 people, as in the second.

Piraeus Bank is estimated to reduce its staff to around 7,500 employees, with the number of branches limited to close to 400 (from 484 in 2020), with the aim of reducing them further.

Alpha Bank

It was preceded by Alpha Bank’s voluntary layoff program, which ended in October with the departure of 600 employees. With this program, Alpha Bank renewed its management capacity by 20% and was the first systemic bank to reduce the number of employees below 6,000 and branches to 310.


Eurobank has achieved the goal of 300 branches, with a staff of over 6,000 employees, after the last voluntary exit program in October 2020 (750 employees left)

Sales of activities

In terms of staff reductions from sales of activities, these refer to executives who have experience, for example, in managing red loans or cards.

Recently, big moves have been made, such as Eurobank and the National Bank with doValue, Piraeus Bank with Intrum and Alpha Bank with Cepal. It is estimated that about 2,600 employees have been or will be relocated through these moves until the completion of the procedures.

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Source From: Capital

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