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Banco Popolare, Popolare di Milano reach deal with unions over job cuts

Banco Popolare Società Cooperativa and Banca Popolare di Milano Scarl reached agreement with unions over an extension of plans to cut jobs once the banks finalize their pending merger, the companies said Dec. 23.

Under the agreement, early retirements will rise to 2,100 from 1,800, but 400 new employees will be hired as a business plan is enacted.

Meanwhile, both banks expressed their "utmost dissent" at Fitch Ratings' decision to downgrade the lenders' respective long-term issuer default ratings, saying the agency failed to take into account efforts including a €1 billion capital increase, a reduction of bad-loan stocks and an increase in bad-loan coverage. Fitch had cited the post-merger group's weak asset quality metrics and their effect on capitalization.