Santander bank plans to slash up to 1,200 jobs in Spain

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Madrid (AFP)

Spain's Santander, the eurozone's biggest bank, said Wednesday during a meeting with unions that it plans to slash up to 1,200 jobs in its Spanish home market, unions and other sources close to the talks said.

The bank, which employs some 25,000 people in Spain, proposed the job cuts as part of a plan it unveiled last week to close 450 branches in the country, the UGT union said.

The bulk of the job cuts will be carried out through early retirments and voluntary departures, the union added.

Santander's planned branch closures will mainly affect smaller outlets staffed by three or fewer employees and they are part of an overhaul aimed at boosting profitability and addressing a shift to online banking.

The bank's net profit edged up three percent last year to 5.97 billion euros ($6.5 billion), held back by an exceptional provision linked to a British insurance scandal.