COVID-19: Access Bank to fire 75 percent of junior workers

THE managing director of Access Bank Herbert Wigwe has disclosed plan to reduce the number of junior staff in the bank by 75 per cent.

He made this statement in a video interview where he listed  the affected workers to include tea girls, security guards, cleaners and teller officers.

He said even though all the branches of Access bank would be closed till December 2020, there would be a need to cut a large number of the junior staff.

According to Wigwe, this category of staffs represents a large number of workers in the bank and the management of the bank would speak to their employers on this reduction process.

He also said due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty of the days ahead, this reduction of workers is important for the bank to still meet up with its responsibilities as a financial institution.

The managing director of the bank said he would also take the heat by taking a 40 per cent pay cut, saying everybody would have to make some adjustments of some sort.

Wigwe said, “This is not the best of times, we understand the difficulties people are going through, but we also understand the higher calling of creating an institution that can provide for us and the fact that tomorrow when things improve we shall revert to normal.”

“But what is important is, this adjustment is required at a time when we see great difficulties coming in, to make sure that if there is one institution left standing in this country as a bank it must be Access,” he added.

The bank boss said he should not be misquoted that they understand it would affect people but the adjustment is necessary to protect their franchise as a bank and make them stronger as they move into the future.

Wigwe, you will recall  held a total of 1.24 billion indirect shares as of April 2019. The indirect shares were made up of 537.73 million shares owned by United Alliance Company of Nigeria Limited and 702.56 million shares owned by Trust and Capital Limited.

But he had sold off 28.86 million units of shares worth N297.82 million, representing 2.33 per cent of his total shares in the bank, according to the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Access Bank in 2019 completed the merger and business combination of the erstwhile Diamond
Bank making the bank the biggest bank in Nigeria by total assets and number of customers as well
as a significant retail footprint and infrastructure.

    The group recorded gross earnings of ₦666.7bn (26 per cent year on year), and a 12 per cent increase in Profit Before Tax (PBT) to ₦115.4bn, despite the significant merger cost.

    A major driver of this growth is the interest income of ₦536.8bn, which grew by 41 per cent year on year, reflecting a sustainable approach to generating revenue through traditional banking

    Daniel Martins of Fair White financial group who spoke to The ICIR said, “With the recent merger which added to huge profitable numbers for this bank and the financial strength of Access Bank, it’s too early to send people home.”

    Adeleye Kolade a financial consultant also said, “It is unfortunate the junior staffs have to suffer this blow, after all, they don’t earn much, the bank should have started the cost-cutting from the board of directors to management level instead of  directly hitting these junior ones.”

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