Oslo, Oct 27: The Nordic banking giant Nordea has announced it would shed 6,000 jobs during the next four years. One of its reasons is the replacement of human positions with "robots". Nordea has around 32,000 employees. CEO Casper von Koskull explaining the layoff in a statement on Thursday said "need to cut costs" and "improvement in efficiency" were key factors, Xinhua news agency reported. The layoffs include 2,000 outsourced consultants. How the sackings would be distributed in the Nordic area was not specified. Nordea said it was introducing "robots" that respond to customer questions online. One such robot in Norway has already begun working in September and has already responded to 10,000 questions previously handled by staffers.
In Finland, robot service begins in December. Von Koskull said "artificial intelligence" will improve customer experience. Some jobs described as "routine" will be transferred to Poland. Salary levels in Finland and the other Nordics are higher than in Poland. The news came two days after Nordea announced it had begun cooperation with Apple-pay, now available in the Nordic area. Analysts have pointed out that after a couple of years Apple and comparable companies could be severe competitors to traditional banks. After a change of legislation next year, banks in Finland must allow access to a customer's account to outside services, if the customer permits. The media here noted that Nordea's announcement brought recollections of the 1990s. During that decade the number of jobs in banking in Finland reduced from 55,000 to 25,000 employees. The Nordea employee union received the news "with dismay as the bank is very profitable now". Nordea published its Q3 results on Thursday, and its profit declined by five per cent to $1,270 million.