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Little festive cheer at Swedbank, as it cuts LC&I roles

Swedbank is to cut 300 jobs in Sweden, including ominously some within its Large Corporates and Institutions (LC&I) business area, it has emerged.

The bank’s chief financial officer Göran Bronner told news said that Swedbank intended to cut 600 jobs in total, split equally between the Baltics and Sweden.

The numbers may be small in terms of the bank’s total workforce of 17,000 people, but the fact some at least will be within LC&I could send a shiver down the spines of Nordic bankers as they start to wind down for the festive season.

The past few months has seen a slew of Nordic banks announce job cuts, including 2,000 roles to go at Danske, the same to go at Nordea and, at a much smaller level, 100 to go at Carnegie Investment Bank and around 250 at Danish bank Jyske.

But the focus for all these has predominantly been traditionally higher headcount areas, such as retail, support or administration, rather than potentially front-line banking posts.

Swedbank for the moment is remaining tight-lipped about its exact intentions or precisely where the axe will fall, even to City observers – with analysts we contacted admitting they had only the same media reports as everyone else to go on, even though the cuts have been rumoured to be coming for the past fortnight.

As one put it: “We’ve not had any information, despite putting in a few calls. But this does feel a bit closer to home.”

Bronner said that Swedbank’s cuts would partly be made within LC&I, though group functions and back office personnel added during the last financial crisis could also go.

The bank hinted all was not well within LC&I at its last results back in October, where it conceded trading-related results had been “weak” for the division and Q3 bonuses had been reduced by 88%.

It also this week suffered the ignominy of having to deny its operations in Latvia were unstable, after what it described as “false rumours” on social media sites led to panic withdrawals at ATMs in the country.

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