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MADRID, Feb 25 AFP

February 26 2013, 02:17AM

CaixaBank, Spain's biggest bank as measured by assets under management, plans to slash around 3,000 jobs as part of a restructuring.

The Barcelona-based bank said the restructuring was needed following the purchase of smaller rivals Banca Civica and Banco de Valencia, which has caused its staffing levels to soar.

"The implementation of this restructuring will affect some 3,000 employees," it said in a statement.

CaixaBank bought Banca Civica and rescued lender Banco de Valencia last year, although the latter has not yet been fully integrated.

It had 32,625 employees at the end of 2012, compared with nearly 27,000 a year earlier, while its network grew by more than 1,000 branches.

Caixabank's net profit plunged 78.2 per cent to 230 million euros ($A297 million) in 2012 over the previous year as a result of having to make greater provisions to cover potential real estate losses.

Spain's real estate market crashed in 2008, which left lenders awash with bad loans and prompted a wave of consolidation and hefty job losses in the sector.

Last month Spanish bank workers staged nationwide protests over the tens of thousands layoffs in the industry and against top executives they hold responsible.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy last year secured an agreement for a European Union rescue loan of up to 100 billion euros to fix the banks' balance sheets, and a first slice of 37 billion euros has already been pumped into stricken banks.

CaixaBank was born July 1, 2011, when Caixa savings bank group listed its retail banking activities.

Banca Civica also made its debut in July 2011 after it was formed from the merger in 2010 of the regional savings banks Caja Navarra, Cajasol, Caja de Burgos and CajaCanarias.