Citibank Taiwan Ltd (台灣花旗) is likely to join its parent group and cut 15 percent of its local 5,000-member workforce in the coming quarters, sources said yesterday.
“Amid tough financial times, the bank still needs to cut expenses no matter how profitable it is,” the source said, adding that the bank has recently liquidated local properties including office buildings in Taipei to generate cash for its loss-making US-based parent Citigroup.
The source said that the bank will start shedding 2,000 employees from the Bank of Overseas Chinese (BOOC, 華僑銀行), which it acquired early last year, on a performance-oriented basis since their one-year contracts recently expired.
Local media speculated yesterday that Citibank Taiwan may slash up to 10 percent of its workforce or some 300 to 800 employees after Citigroup announced its plan to shed 53,000 more employees worldwide after having laid off 22,000 last month.
Country manager Victor Kuan (管國霖) was quoted by local media as saying that the performance evaluation of former BOOC employees has nothing to do with layoff plans, denying that the bank has set a clear number of employees to shed.
Spokeswoman Michelle Liao (廖麗雪) refused to comment yesterday on layoff plans.
But a company statement, released on Tuesday, said that the bank’s outlets in the Asia-Pacific, including those in Taiwan, will “seek reorientation to improve efficiency so as to create the biggest benefits for clients amid a difficult time.”
“The bank will streamline its organizational structure by moving offices to less costly places and resorting to an automated system to cut cost,” it said. “During the reorientation process … some positions may no longer exist.”
In the first eight months of the year, Citibank Taiwan posted NT$11.22 billion (US$337.3 million) in pre-tax revenues, the second-highest among local banks, the bank said.
Meanwhile, Citigroup’s head of Asia-Pacific sales and trading, Richard Patterson, left after more than five years as the New York-based bank started cutting jobs in the region, Bloomberg reported yesterday, citing two unnamed people familiar with the matter.
In separate news, Nan Shan Life Insurance Co (南山人壽), the nation’s second-largest life insurer by assets, also plans to reduce its 4,700 in-house employees by more than 200 to reduce costs.
Nan Shan, which just received a NT$45.11 billion capital injection from its parent American International Group Inc last week, was merely trying to reorient its workforce, April Pan (潘玲嬌), spokeswoman and vice president, said by telephone yesterday.
“We will train some of the in-house talent, if they wish, to join our 33,000 salespersons,” she said, adding that the layoff plan was minor compared to those of its peers.