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RBI's Polish unit eyes branch closures, job cuts to increase profitability

Raiffeisen Bank International AG's Polish unit will close between 60 and 70 branches by 2018 as part of an optimization program that will focus on increased digitization to increase the lender's profitability, achieve a cost-to-income ratio below the level of 55% starting from 2019 and adjust the business model to new market challenges.

As part of the program, Raiffeisen Bank Polska SA will also transform up to 90 branches into more cost-efficient outlets by the end of 2019. It plans to invest 100 million Polish zlotys over the next two years to finance the digital transformation of sales and services in all business segments, as it aims to cut between 850 and 950 jobs by 2019 and transfer operational functions to a low-cost operations center.

The optimization program will be completed in 2019, with savings generated by the measures estimated to reach at least 200 million zlotys compared with 2016. The bank will book a 45 million zlotys restructuring reserve in the first half to implement the program and cover the costs of employment reductions and branch closures.

Raiffeisen Bank Polska employed 4,242 people and had 299 branches at the end of 2016, according to Reuters.

As of April 10, US$1 was equivalent to 4.00 Polish zlotys.