Citibank's employees stampede for the exits
Two thirds of Citibank Korea's employees want to accept early retirement packages.
According to the bank Friday, some 2,300 employees out of a total of 3,500 applied for early retirement packages from Oct.28 through Nov.10. That is roughly 66 percent of the bank's total workforce.
Citibank Korea made official last month it will wind down its consumer banking business after it failed to sell it. It offered packages to all its employees, not only in the consumer banking business.
The bank originally planned to offer packages to around 1,500 employees but more wanted to go.
When banks close their business in Korea completely, the decision must be approved by the Financial Services Commission, according to local laws. But Citibank Korea is only closing one part of its business.
The labor union has been asking the Financial Services Commission to not approve the bank's closing of the consumer banking business, but the regulator decided it doesn't have to get involved. Citibank Korea will still offer corporate banking services.
The packages include a special retirement allowance of up to 700 million won ($594,000).
The bank agreed to give employees working for the company for three years or more the amount they would be paid up to retirement, with a ceiling of seven years of pay or 700 million won. They will get their base salaries excluding one-off bonuses.
As this special allowance is on top of severance pay, some employees could get as much as 1 billion won to leave.
There are more perks included.
For each of children of employees currently in college, the bank will give 10 million won scholarships for as many as two children. After leaving, employees and their spouses will be able to get annual health checkups covered by the bank for three years.
The bank also promised 2 million won worth of department store gift cards.
"Not all applicants will be retiring early," a spokesperson from Citibank Korea said. "There will be a screening process."
The spokesperson added that to minimize the workload for employees who stay, those that are confirmed to be leaving will be divided into three groups that will leave at different times: in December, February and April.
BY KIM JEE-HEE, LEE HAY-JUNE [firstname.lastname@example.org]