Dubai’s largest bank, Emirates NBD, is to accelerate plans to cut jobs due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic with its private banking division set to bear the brunt of the redundancies.
As many as 800 jobs are expected to be axed, equivalent to 10% of the workforce.
In a statement to Reuters, the bank said that recent developments have had a significant impact on the economy and “this has meant letting go of some of our colleagues as we right size to meet our anticipated future business needs, especially in light of the economic forecasts that point towards challenging times ahead”.
A source cited by Reuters said that job cuts had already been planned for 2020 as part of its digital transformation efforts but these plans had been accelerated by the pandemic as well as the drop in oil revenues.
The bank is expected to invest US$272 million in digital technology over the next four years and also hopes to move all of its divisions onto one IT platform by the end of 2020. While this will reduce the bank’s IT costs, it is also likely to result in reduced headcount, especially within its private banking unit.
The job cuts come at a time when the UAE’s banks have come under pressure from rating agencies with both Moody’s and Fitch issuing warnings this month. Moody’s changed the outlook on eight UAE banks from stable to negative while Fitch warned of weakening asset quality and credit profiles among UAE banks.
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