“If in 2008, nearly 100 persons would leave the bank and we hired 200 persons instead, the staff will now decrease naturally by 30-40 persons. In January and February, we slowed down recruitment, however, the departure still outpaces hire of staff”, said van Groningen.

He expects workforce to reduce by the end of 2009, from 6,800 contract staff in December 2008.

The CEO of the bank said the level of staff spending at Raiffeisen Bank Romania accounted for roughly 50% of overall spending of the lender.

Raiffeisen Bank reported a net profit of 165 mln euros for last year, up 75.6% from a year earlier, on strong growth driven by interests and fees, the bank said in a press release earlier today.

Volksbank Romania said it would not close down any branch and that it would keep staff. “As long as costs are under control, we have no plan in laying off staff”, said the CEO of Volksbank Romania, Gerald Schreiner. In 2009, the bank aims at reducing the costs/revenue ratio to 44.7% from 49.6% in 2008.

The Chief Financial Officer at Erste Group, Manfred Wimmer, said recently that the layoffs scheduled for the coming period in Romanian market, for reducing BCR’s headcount are part of the group’s restructuring program and had no connection to the financial crisis. The group said it would continue its expansion plan for BCR network.

He stressed that pay packages at BCR would rise by 1% below the inflation rate, which would anyway temper down this year. Wimmer added that the focus must be shifted from the basic salaries to earnings based on performance.

Credit Europe Bank demanded the resignation of certain employees

Credit Europe Bank staff sought the support of FSAB after the lender had decided to run a restructuring procedure, requesting employees to sign their resignations, in order to avoid the payment of severances, said the chairman of FSAB.

“We have received 3 notifications from CEB, but in default of trade union member status, we could not intervene to support them. He added that there were no similar cases encountered in other banks members of the union, as FSAB must be notified in this purpose at least 60 days beforehand”, said the chairman of FSAB, Paraschiv Constantin.

Moreover, FSAB will hold talks with banks’ representatives to find solutions to tide over the crisis, in case it will be seized a drastic slowdown of loan officers’ activity.

Citibank Romania has recently announced it would reorganize its distribution unit and that it would relinquish 30 of the 39 CitiFinancial units, following to provide both corporate-oriented services and services for population in the remaining 17 agencies and to use the 42 sale units to provide loans via brokers.

The reorganization process for the distribution unit will take place in first quarter this year and will entail the layoff of 80-90.

In addition, OTP Bank said it discharge 5% of the bank’s workforce that currently counts 1,100. The first stage of headcount downsize has been scheduled for January 2009.

The effects of the layoffs operated by ING group in Romania will be “marginal”, as the bank had a solid and sustainable activity, said the managing director of ING Bank Romania, Misu Negritoiu.

“The group announced a 10% spending cut, namely 1 bln euros and layoff of 7,000. It is more about the geographic orientation and focus on certain markets. For Romania, the effect will be marginal, due to its solid and sustainable activity”, said Negritoiu.

He outlined that the bank would not close down units or layoff staff.