Brazil's Itau lays off 270 staff in retail units, union says
Updates number of employees laid off
SAO PAULO, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Brazil's largest lender Itau Unibanco Holding SA ITUB4.SA has laid off at least 270 employees since the beginning of September, according to a bank employees union leader on Thursday.
Layoffs reached 130 positions in the car loan unit and also hit workers located at bank branches, the union added.
Itau, which ended June with roughly 95,000 employees, pledged not to cut any jobs for an unspecified period of time during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Banks had committed not to fire workers during the pandemic and now are breaking their promise," said Juvandia Moreira, head of the national bank employees union Contraf.
In a statement to Reuters, Itau said it resumed in September both hirings and layoffs, which had both been halted since the pandemic slammed Brazil in March. The bank did not disclose any numbers.
As banks worldwide tighten their belts bracing for recession and loan losses stemming from the virus outbreak, analysts said lenders will eye layoffs as a measure, as Reuters had reported.
Itau is considering returning some rented buildings and further shrinking its branch network as it seeks a nominal reduction in operating expenses this year and next, Chief Financial Officer Milton Maluhy said in August.
Besides Itau, Banco Santander Brasil SA SANB11.SAhas also laid off some 1,000 workerssince June, according to the union.
(Reporting by Carolina Mandl; Editing by David Gregorio and Marguerita Choy)
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