01:17 GMT +313 December 2019
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    FILE PHOTO: Unicredit bank logo is seen on a banner downtown Milan, Italy, May 23, 2016

    Italian Banking Giant UniCredit to Cut 8,000 Jobs, Close 500 Branches in Europe by 2023

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Italian banking giant UniCredit announced plans on Tuesday to ax 8,000 jobs by closing 500 branches across Europe by 2023 as the company seeks to save 150 million euros ($166 million) annually through digital banking solutions.

    The bank announced these job cuts as part of its 2020-2023 strategic plan, unveiled by CEO Jean Pierre Mustier in London, that promises to deliver 16 billion euros of value creation to shareholders over the next four years.

    Through the creation of so-called paperless retail banks, the UniCredit Group plans to close branches in Italy, Germany and Austria as part of cost cutting measures estimated to be worth 1 billion euros. Approximately 500 UniCredit branches will close in Europe, leading to an estimated 8,000 redundancies.

    "UniCredit is committed to generating sustainable returns by leveraging on its extensive and growing pan European client franchise, maximising productivity through continuous cost optimisation and more efficient business processes," it said in a press release.

    Investment in digital banking solutions, the bank argues, will allow for faster transactions, digital document exchange between bank and customer and allow for digital signatures to be used on contracts, the press release read. Through these plans, the bank estimates that annual profits by 2023 will reach 5 billion euros. The bank also proposed 2 billion euros of share buybacks.

    UniCredit is a leading European bank, operating in 14 core European markets. As part of its previous strategic plan, unveiled in 2015, the organization announced that it would cut 18,200 jobs by closing 800 branches. In April 2019, the bank plead guilty to criminal charges and was fined $1.3 billion by the US Justice Department related to transactions that violated US sanctions with at least six nations. A subsidiary bank of the credit institution operates in Russia.

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