TD Banknorth Inc. (NYSE: BNK) announced Friday that it will reduce its workforce and close or consolidate up to 24 branches across the company's franchise. As part of the plan, the company will reduce its workforce by approximately 400 employees over the next several months. “These were extremely difficult decisions to make, but ones that were necessary in response to the current operating environment,� said Bharat Masrani, TD Banknorth president and CEO. “We are committed to treating our employees with respect and will do everything we can to assist them during these difficult times.� The company said in a press statement that it had recently completed a comprehensive review of its branch network, resulting in the decision to close or consolidate 24 retail branches across the Company's franchise. The branches to be closed or consolidated include thirteen locations in New Jersey, four in Connecticut, three in New York, two in Pennsylvania and two in Massachusetts.
“Our goal is to ensure that our retail network is efficiently meeting the needs of customers,� said Suzanne Poole, EVP for retail delivery. “We will minimize the impact to our customers and ensure this transition is as seamless for them as possible.� Customers will be notified in mid-April with most branches tentatively scheduled to be closed in the third quarter of 2007, subject to the receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals. “The steps we've taken today will position the bank for organic growth going forward and are part of our previously-announced goal of reducing our operating expenses by between 5 percent and 8 percent by 2008,� added Masrani. TD Banknorth owns subsidiary operations in mortgage banking, although the company did not specify if its decision to downsize retail operations was driven by weakness in the overall mortgage market.