Standard Chartered intends to halve its branch network worldwide to 400 in order to address the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

The British lender also plans to reduce its office space by nearly one-third to lower costs.

The bank revealed plans to “drive automation to enable the re-shaping of the workforce”. However, specifics on redundancies have not been divulged.

Standard Chartered reported a pre-tax profit of $1.4bn in Q1 2021, up from $1.2bn in the prior year.

This was driven by strong performances from Wealth Management and Financial Markets businesses. An improving economic outlook saw it reduce loan loss provisions.

According to a recent report, the British lender is one of the various banks eyeing parts of Citigroup’s Asia consumer operations.

In November 2020, Standard Chartered unveiled a plan to provide 90% of its 85,000 employees flexible work options over the next three years, indicating long-term changes triggered by the pandemic.

The bank also unveiled that it is discussions with an unnamed third-party workspace provider to provide “near-home” workspaces.

The pandemic has changed working approaches of several other banking majors.

Standard Chartered’s peers like HSBC too are following a similar approach.

HSBC is reportedly ditching private offices for its top brass at its London headquarters and asking them to hot desk instead.

Deutsche Bank too is reportedly weighing hybrid working models when offices reopen. It could allow staff to work from home up to three days a week.