Associated Banc-Corp of Green Bay, Wisconsin, laid off about 3% of its employees, amounting to about 120 people, American Banker reported Friday.
The bank plans to close 14 branches and will also sell around $2 billion in mortgages and investment securities, according to the report.
A Thursday press release indicated the bank identified $25 million to $30 million in expense reductions in 2024, comprising full-time employee reductions, branch consolidations and decreased discretionary spending. Severance and other expenses ties to the reductions will cost the company $5 million in the fourth quarter of 2023, the bank said.
Meanwhile, Associated will hire 20 new relationship managers in markets including Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin; Chicago; St. Louis; and Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. The new hires will set out to attract and deepen whole customer relationships including loans, deposits, treasury management and other services, the bank said.
A spokesperson for Associated didn’t return a request for comment from Banking Dive by press time.
Associated announced a large-scale strategic plan in 2021, at the time saying it would beef up several lending verticals, including auto lending, asset-based lending, commercial and small-business lending, and bolster its wealth management business while investing in technology.
The recent changes represent the next stage in the strategic plan, the bank said Thursday.
“Since launching the first phase of our strategic plan in 2021, we've steadily executed on our plans to drive high-quality loan growth, expand our deposit capabilities and transform the digital experience for our customers,” CEO Andy Harmening said in a prepared statement.
“These efforts have resulted in strong balance sheet expansion, and better positioned us to attract, deepen and retain customer relationships. While we continue to benefit from these initial efforts, we also plan to capitalize on our momentum through the next phase of our strategic plan,” he said. “Already underway, this plan accelerates our efforts to attract and deepen relationships, enhance our return profile and drive improved shareholder returns over time. We look forward to sharing updates on our progress in 2024 and beyond.”
Associated plans next year to launch an artificial intelligence-enabled chatbot, a now-popular introduction for banks but one that has drawn watchdog scrutiny. The AI sector overall saw its own executive order last month.
Other digital initiatives, including an omnichannel branch sales platform and an enhanced digital banking experience for private wealth clients, are also in the works.