Replacing the Human Abacus with a Robot: Deutsche Bank’s 5 Year Plan

Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan acknowledged that a “big number” of employees at his bank will be replaced by robots or some other form of automation in the next five years.

In an interview with Handelsblatt Global, Cryan said that while he cannot specify how many employees will be replaced by robots or some other form of automation at Deutsche Bank, job losses will be “a big number, definitely.”

Deutsche Bank currently directly employs 100,000 people worldwide and indirectly employs 30,000 individuals. Bloomberg reported in January this year that Deutsche Bank managers have been asked to identify the bottom 20 percent of performers in preparation for possible job cuts. As part of its five-year restructuring plan, Germany’s largest bank already committed to cut 9,000 direct employees and 6,000 indirect employees.

“The sad truth for the banking industry is, we won‘t need as many people as today,” Cryan said. “In our bank, we have people doing work like robots. Tomorrow we will have robots behaving like people.” The CEO of Deutsche Bank cited accountants as an example of  “people doing work like robots” because they ” spend a lot of the time basically being an abacus.”

The CEO of Germany’s largest bank said that technology is changing the entire banking industry, and such transformation will happen whether or not Deutsche Bank gets on board, implying that the bank is merely reacting to reality of the market and the plans put forwards by its competitors.