Jobs go as Butterfield closes banking centre

  • Surprise closure: a man peers into the former banking centre at Rosebank on Bermudiana Road yesterday (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

    Surprise closure: a man peers into the former banking centre at Rosebank on Bermudiana Road yesterday (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

Eleven people have lost their jobs, and 30 more have accepted early retirement packages, in sweeping changes at Butterfield Bank.

The 11 positions were made redundant over two departments, the bank said in a statement released yesterday morning by the Bermuda Stock Exchange.

“As retiring employees leave the bank over the next several months, their responsibilities will be reallocated within existing operations locally and internationally to foster further improvements in operating efficiency,” the statement said.

In addition, Butterfield’s Rosebank banking centre and drive-through teller services in Hamilton closed yesterday, the bank said.

The statement said the moves “completed a multifaceted streamlining initiative that reflects the changing banking environment and positions Butterfield for improved operating efficiency”.

Michael Collins, Butterfield’s chairman and chief executive officer, said: “Following the release of our 2018 earnings, we advised the market that we would be streamlining operations to take better advantage of our international footprint and improve expense management. These are key steps in that process.

“While it is never easy to implement such changes, we are pleased that most of the headcount reduction in Bermuda was achieved through voluntary early retirements, and our employees are being well supported through this process. We are confident that these are the right changes to position Butterfield for continued growth and development as we seek to become the world’s leading offshore bank and trust company.”

Closure of the banking centre and drive-through teller, the bank said, reflect “Bermuda customers’ changing banking preferences, which have resulted in a substantial reduction in the volume of in-branch transactions”.

Commenting on the Rosebank closure, Michael Neff, managing director, Bermuda, said: “Reflecting customers’ preferences to increasingly conduct their banking transactions through electronic channels, we have seen in-branch volumes drop by over 50 per cent during the last decade.

“There is no longer enough volume to justify the continued operation of two full-service banking centres in Hamilton, and we have therefore made the decision to discontinue in-person services at Rosebank.

“Later this year, Butterfield will begin renovations to its head office at 65 Reid Street in Hamilton, which will include improvement of all customer areas and the development of a modern, expanded banking hall on the Front Street level, designed to make customers’ experiences more efficient and enjoyable.”

Going forward, the statement said, Rosebank customers wishing to conduct in-branch transactions are advised to visit one of Butterfield’s three other banking centre locations: Reid Street in Hamilton, St George’s or Somerset. Walk-up and drive-through ATMs will remain in place at Rosebank.

The statement said that premium banking services will relocate to the Reid Street banking centre effective Monday, April 22. Safe deposit customers may continue to access their lockboxes at Rosebank until 4pm today, after which time they will be accessible at Butterfield’s Reid Street banking centre on the ground floor, Front Street level.

In response to enquiries by The Royal Gazette, a Butterfield spokesman said that employees of Butterfield Trust and the other departments currently located in the bank-owned Rosebank Centre will continue to work from that location.

The former banking centre space, the spokesman said, may be used in the near term as department “swing space” to allow for renovations at Butterfield’s head office building on Reid Street. Long-term plans are still to be determined, the spokesman said.

The parking lot at Rosebank will remain as short-term parking for Butterfield Trust clients and visitors to the building, the spokesman said.

Butterfield also announced that headcount in the bank’s Channel Islands subsidiaries was recently reduced by 15 positions. This change, the statement said, was effected to right-size the organisation following the onboarding of clients and staff from the acquired Deutsche Bank banking and custody business in the Channel Islands. It reflects Butterfield’s more automated back-office environment, which allows for efficient transaction processing with fewer employees.

Last year, Butterfield Bank’s Bermuda workforce shrank by 18, ending at 572.

As a group, Butterfield had 1,373 employees at the end of the year, including 99 temporary staff.

That figure is measured on a full-time equivalency basis, and compares to 1,190 in 2017, 1,240 in 2016 and 1,141 in 2015.

The details were contained in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Published Apr 18, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Apr 18, 2019 at 9:10 am)

Jobs go as Butterfield closes banking centre

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