Nordea to lay off 2,000 to cut costs

SCANDINAVIA’s biggest lender, Nordea, has announced plans to slash 2,000 jobs by the end of 2012 in four northern European countries.

The bank blamed the decision on “increased costs imposed by new global regulation” that are a “new normal” for the industry.

Denmark, Finland and Sweden will suffer the bulk of the cuts, with 500-650 roles per country to go, while Norway will see 200-300 jobs lost. The bank said that the details will depend on the outcome of negotiations with unions.

Chief executive and president Christian Clausen said that the cuts are necessary to “safeguard our good rating”. “To increase efficiency is never easy,” he said. “The alternative, to wait and see, is not an option.”

The bank’s aim to deliver a 15 per cent return on equity for shareholders, which it says will involve keeping costs flats. The slated cuts amount to a 5.8 per cent reduction in headcount, though no jobs will go in the UK, where Nordea has one office.