May 13, 2019 / 7:15 PM / 2 months ago

Brazil's Itaú plans to close 400 branches in two years -sources

SAO PAULO, May 13 (Reuters) - Brazil’s largest private lender, Itaú Unibanco Holding SA, plans to close 400 branches in the country over the next two years, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Itaú’s move comes as an increasing volume of financial transactions migrates to digital platforms.

The sources, who asked for anonymity because the bank’s discussions are private, said the bank may close 200 branches over the next 12 months and the rest in the following year.

Itaú, which has 3,527 branches in the country, declined to comment on the target number, but said in a statement “the reduction of brick-and-mortar branches is a trend to adapt to the needs of clients and demand for digital services.”

The bank had by the end of March 195 digital branches that could absorb some of the employees who will be laid off with the closure of branches.

Itaú announced on Monday it will launch a digital wallet with no fee called Iti. All banking transactions will be made online.

Reporting by Aluisio Alves; Writing by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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