UPDATE 4-Bank of Montreal to axe 4 pct of workforce, warns on loans

Wed May 25, 2016 4:59pm EDT
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* Bank to cut around 1,850 jobs from 46,000 workforce

* Bank says responding to less transactions in branches

* Some branches set to close over medium term

* Bad loans to oil and gas sector rise to C$410 million (Adds comments from interview with CFO)

By Matt Scuffham and Marcy Nicholson

TORONTO/NEW YORK, May 25 (Reuters) - Bank of Montreal will shed around 4 percent of its 46,000 workforce as part of a drive to cut costs, staff were told in a memo on Wednesday after the lender reported a decline in quarterly profit.

Chief Executive Bill Downe said the move, which will see around 1,850 jobs go, was a response to changing customer behavior and the advent of new digital technologies.

Banks around the world are cutting branches and staff and investing in technology as more customers bank online rather than visit a branch.

"We have taken this step to position the bank for what lies ahead - and to account for the structural changes underway in the financial services industry," Downe said in the memo seen by Reuters.   Continued...