(Bloomberg) -- Credit Suisse Group AG has told some teams in Switzerland to consider taking a leave of absence or a sabbatical, adding to signs that the bank’s Swiss unit is under pressure to meet targets for the year, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Bankers were told now is the ideal time for an unpaid or extended absence as the Swiss Universal Bank division, led by Thomas Gottstein, seeks to cut 1,600 positions by the end of the year under a three-year plan, the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions were private. The measures are part of a plan to cut costs and should be also seen in the light of saving jobs, one of the people said.

Credit Suisse said in an e-mailed statement that it doesn’t actively encourage its employees to take an unpaid leave for cost reasons, without commenting further.

Gottstein, who took the helm at the Swiss unit in 2015, is eliminating positions across the unit, which contributes more than any other to the lender’s pretax profit. Gottstein is planning to cut 300 positions this year, though some people may find other jobs in the bank, two people said. Gottstein has said the bank expects to reach its job target goal in 2018.

The executive is planning to grow the bank’s mortgage business and sees higher interest and commission revenues coming in corporate banking, he said last month.

Fitch Ratings has sad the SUB unit’s adjusted pretax profit target of 2.3 billion francs ($2.45 billion) by 2018 is “ambitious" compared with the 1.3 billion francs reported in the nine months through September. The bank is set to report full-year earnings next week.

(Adds Credit Suisse statement in second paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Jan-Henrik Förster in Zurich at jforster20@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net, Keith Campbell

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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