HarborOne job cuts reflect lower branch traffic, coronavirus fallout

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HarborOne Bancorp in Brockton, Mass., will cut more than 40 jobs as it reconciles declining branch traffic and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The $4.5 billion-asset company disclosed in a regulatory filing that it will reduce its workforce by 6.6%, with most cuts taking place in its retail banking operations. The layoffs equal 44 jobs based on the company's March 31 headcount.

While the prominence of branches has diminished for years amid a shift to digital banking, HarborOne said the virus and social distancing measures to combat it had hastened the trend and necessitated the reductions.

“Changes in customer behavior … have accelerated” since the onset of the pandemic in March, the filing said.

The pandemic has also weighed on HarborOne's earnings.

While HarborOne earned $10.6 million in the second quarter, its loan-loss provision increased to $10 million from $1.8 million a year earlier.

HarborOne said it will record about $640,000 in restructuring expense in the third quarter tied to the layoffs. While the company notified affected staff on Wednesday, it said employees will be paid through Aug. 21 and they are eligible to receive severance payments and outplacement assistance.

The company said the cuts will save it about $2.8 million annually, with the full impact taking place next year.

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