Sberbank to proceed further with robotization, as 100 branches face shift to automation

Maria Nikolova

The robotic automation of processes at the bank is progressing, with further 100 branches that deal with cash to be robotized.

Sberbank Rossii PAO (MCX:SBER) is known as one of the main adopters of novel technological solutions in Russia. The robotization process is accelerating, with Herman Gref – CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of Sberbank, confirming on Monday that more than 30 branches have been robotized.

RIA Novosti reported Mr Gref as saying that further 100 branches that deal with cash will also undergo automatization. This is associated with the replacement of certain processes and human staff, he said.

The comments are made several months after the bank showed a “Kuka Hand” – a robotic hand used to sort and count money. One such robot, according to Stanislav Kuznetsov, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of Sberbank, may replace six human beings. Back in May this year, Sberbank said the solution would be gradually rolled out across the bank’s regional offices in 2017.

The process automation has already been mentioned as one of the key factors for the workforce reduction in certain departments of Sberbank. In June this year, Mr Gref said the number of employees in back office roles at the bank will be reduced 12 times by 2021.

These comments are in tune with plans unveiled by other financial services companies that embrace novel technologies. In October this year, Nordea Bank‘s CEO Casper von Koskull said the bank was almost two years into a transformation shift, involving investments made in technology, such as the core banking platform, digital banking and IT remediation. The next phase of the transformation includes bringing down costs and increasing efficiency, so cutting the number of employees and consultants with at least 6,000 of which approximately 2,000 are consultants is in store, Casper von Koskull said.

Japanese financial giants have also announced plans to reduce their workforce amid new technology adoption. In September this year, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc (TYO:8306) said 9,500 jobs will be automated in Japan. These jobs account for about 30% of the overall headcount nationwide at MUFG’s main subsidiary, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ. The company will try to move employees who have been engaged in relatively simple work into more creative roles through retraining and other measures.

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