DUBAI, (Reuters) – HSBC Holdings has cut two percent of its workforce in the United Arab Emirates, because of the region’s “challenging” operating environment, a local executive for the bank told Reuters on Wednesday.
Local English-language daily Emirates Business reported earlier Wednesday that around 90 junior and middle management employees received termination notices.
“We don’t confirm absolute numbers but let me say that the figure is relatively accurate. It’s less than two percent of the workforce in the UAE,” Joel Farnworth, HSBC Middle East’s head of human resources said.
HSBC employs around 4,000 in the UAE, he said.
HSBC Middle East in early August posted $643 million in first-half, pre-tax net profit but saw its loan impairment charges and credit risk provisions jump to $391 million from $41 million a year earlier.
Banks worldwide have slashed jobs amid the worst downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. In the UAE, banks have been forced to take provisions, pressuring quarterly profits, as loan defaults are expected to rise.
Farnworth said the company continued to review its workforce, but there were no specific plans going forward. The lay-offs apply to both front and back office, he said.