Royal Bank to cut 450 jobs, mostly at head office, in banking’s shifting landscape

By Doug Alexander

Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s second-largest lender by assets, is cutting about 450 positions — or less than 1 per cent of its total workforce — mostly from head office locations in the Toronto area.

“We are making changes that focus on the capabilities that we need now and in the future to meet our clients’ evolving needs,” the bank said Wednesday in an emailed statement. “As always, we consolidate where necessary so that we can reinvest in key areas including digital, data, new technology as well as investment in high-growth business areas.”

Canadian banks have announced more than 5,000 job cuts tied to restructurings during the past three years, though the number is probably higher since many announcements, including those by Toronto-Dominion Bank and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, didn’t disclose job figures. The country’s six largest lenders collectively employed about 363,600 workers as of the end of April, including 75,281 at Royal Bank, according to company disclosures.

Royal Bank said it’s making “hundreds of changes” including promotions, transfers and the creation of new roles.

The lender is among Canadian firms cutting costs as they they cope with low interest rates, changing customer preferences and a slump in oil prices. Great-West Lifeco Inc., the nation’s second-largest life insurer, said in April that it’s slashing 13 per cent of its workforce in the country, or 1,500 jobs after profit slumped.

Royal Bank slipped 0.3 per cent to $93.40 at 9:32 a.m. in Toronto. That narrowed the lender’s gain to 2.8 per cent this year, beating the 0.4 per cent advance of the eight-company S&P/STX Commercial Banks Index.

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