Swiss investment bank UBS is reportedly planning to shutter 44 of its 239 branches in Switzerland over the next few months in a bid to focus on digital channels.
The move will not lead to redundancies ‘at the moment’, UBS Switzerland director Axel Lehmann said in a memo to employees seen by Reuters.
Nearly 150 employees, who will be affected by the closures, will be redeployed across the bank.
UBS is also launching a pilot programme in March to train advisers for more remote advisory and digital sales as part of its shift towards digitalisation.
UBS, which previously had around 300 branches across the country, closed 28 of them last year.
According to Lehmann, the over-the-counter transactions in the bank’s branches plummeted by 10%, and two-thirds of clients currently use digital services for their banking needs.
Previously, the bank said that as much as one-third of its employees may permanently work from home in a post Covid-19 environment.
Meanwhile, UBS is planning to charge negative rates on clients holding more than CHF250,000 ($280,646) or euros in cash, effective July this year.
The bank previously held a threshold of over CHF2m.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear that we’ll have to contend with negative interest rates for years to come. That’s why we decided to lower the threshold for deposit fees,” Lehmann told employees in a memo seen by Reuters.
Last August, a report said that UBS will lower the threshold for charging affluent customers as negative interest rates continue in Europe.
In December 2020, the company appointed Sabine Keller-Busse as the new president of UBS Switzerland, replacing Lehmann.