Deutsche Bank CEO Cryan hints robots could replace thousands of people at the bank

Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan pictured in 2009.

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Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan pictured in 2009.
source
Reuters

    Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan hints that the bank could cut thousands more jobs. He said in an interview that the bank’s headcount is significantly larger than most competitors. The bank is set to use technology to cut costs and battle shrinking revenues.

Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan has hinted that the lender could cut thousands more jobs as it continues to adjust to expectations of substantially lower future revenues.

“We employ 97,000 people,” Cryan said in an interview with the Financial Times. “Most big peers have more like half that number.”

The bank is already in the process of cutting around 9,000 jobs globally, with 4,000 gone so far. The cuts are part of a plan announced by Cryan in late 2015, soon after he became CEO, and most of those job losses are the result of efficiencies created by using technology.

“We’re too manual, which can make you error-prone and it makes you inefficient. There’s a lot of machine learning and mechanisation that we can do,” Cryan said in the FT interview.

Job cuts could extend to Deutsche Bank’s branch network as well, he said, noting that customers are increasingly shifting to using online banking functions, rather than going into branches.

“The truth is if I went to a load of branches, I’d wait quite a lot of the day before I encountered [any] customers. They just don’t come in as often as they used to,” he said.

Cryan’s comments echo similar remarks he made in September this year when he argued that a “big number” of staff at the company will ultimately be replaced by robots and other forms of technology as the firm embraces a “revolutionary spirit” going forwards.

“In our banks, we have people behaving like robots doing mechanical things. Tomorrow we’re going to have robots behaving like people,” he told a conference in Frankfurt.

Many people believe that a large number of more straightforward jobs, such as data entry, will soon be replaced by automation as a result of technological advances in banking and the wider world.

A 2016 report from the World Economic Forum argued that automation will lead to a net loss of over 5 million jobs in 15 major developed and emerging economies by 2020.

Certain banking roles are already being impacted by the rise of so-called “robo-advisors” which are able to give financial advice to customers without relying on an actual person.

HSBC is one major bank to roll out robo-advice, launching a service in June that “will use data and algorithms to deliver tailored advice and will make personal recommendations based on an individual’s unique circumstances.”