October 23, 2015 / 6:39 PM / 3 years ago

Canada's Scotiabank to cut jobs, cites technology shift

TORONTO (Reuters) - Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) is cutting an undisclosed number of jobs as part of a broader cost-reduction strategy as it moves to keep pace with technology changes in the financial services industry, Canada’s No. 3 lender said.

A customer walks into the Scotiabank on Spring Garden road in Halifax, Nova Scotia, March 3, 2009. The bank held its annual general meeting in Halifax on Tuesday. REUTERS/Paul Darrow

Scotiabank, which had more than 87,000 employees at the end of July, said it would close offices in Calgary, Ottawa, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Halifax over the next two years, and it told employees about the layoffs on Thursday.

Canadian banks have seen growth squeezed by lower oil prices hitting Western Canada and a slowdown in the broader economy, though they have remained profitable. Scotiabank had net income of C$1.85 billion ($1.41 billion) in the quarter ended July 31.

CBC News, citing one unidentified employee, spoke of 200 jobs being cut in one region. The lender said the figure was incorrect, but declined to say how many jobs would be eliminated.

The cuts include back-office and support jobs in its shared services group, adjudication centers and mortgage operations. Scotiabank also plans to consolidate operations through two new technology hubs in the Greater Toronto Area.

Last week, Reuters reported that Toronto Dominion Bank (TD.TO) was laying off employees.

Canadian banks are also looking at costs as new technology fuels competition from startups and changes customer patterns, shifting the focus from the traditional retail branch office model.

“We’re moving from a paper-based approach to a more technology-enabled, digitized approach,” Scotiabank spokeswoman Diane Flanagan said. “This move is really to match the fact that customers’ needs are changing and that we want to be as responsive and relevant as possible.”

Last November, Scotiabank said it was looking to cut about 1,500 jobs and expected to save about C$120 million.

Last week, it announced plans to open a digital hub in downtown Toronto to foster innovation and create new products for the bank.

Additional reporting by Euan Rocha in Toronto; editing by Grant McCool

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