Valley National to cut 60 corporate jobs

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Valley National Bancorp in Wayne, N.J., is eliminating 60 corporate positions as part of a broader cost-cutting effort.

Valley expects the annualized salary and benefit expense associated with the job cuts to be more than $5 million, it said in a press release Wednesday.

The $31 billion-asset parent of Valley Bank plans to make the cuts by the end of the second quarter.

Valley made several changes last year to trim costs and simplify operations after Ira Robbins succeeded longtime CEO Gerald Lipkin, including shifting its stock listing from the New York Stock Exchange to the Nasdaq.

In addition, Valley said in the release that it has entered into an agreement for the sale-leaseback of 29 of its properties. The properties, which include 28 branches and one corporate location, will be sold for about $107 million.

Valley expects to realize a pretax gain of about $81 million from the agreement. The transaction is expected to close in the first or second quarter.

“The properties identified in this transaction fit within Valley’s long-term strategic plan and the previously announced branch transformation,” said Alan Eskow, Valley’s chief financial officer. “Furthermore, this transaction provides flexibility and allows us to realize value within the balance sheet and enhance earning assets over time.”

Valley expects the sale-leaseback and corporate job cuts to be “modestly accretive to earnings per share over the first full year, excluding severance charges,” according to the release.

The company also recently announced that Eskow plans to transition into a senior adviser position supporting Robbins. He will keep the CFO role until a successor is named, and then Eskow will remain at Valley as a senior executive vice president.

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