Access Bank jettisons staff retrenchment, okays pay cut

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Following a strategic retreat in preparation for post Covid-19 operations, the Management of Access Bank Plc is taking a bold step to realign the Bank’s operations to fit the gradual unlocking of the economy as announced by the Federal Government.

The Bank has resolved not to sack any staff opting instead for minimal cuts in pay check for the recession period while at the same time reducing to the minimum, the required doses of outsourced services rendered by Contractors.

For example, as the lifting of the lockdown unfolds, some of the bank branches may not be operational for now and as a result, outsourced staff such as cleaners, messengers, dispatch riders, note counters, drivers etc., may not be needed. The bank would be contacting the affected service providers stating a significant reduction in the number of their employees that would be needed.

Access Bank, like many institutions, outsources most of its non-bank functions (such as security, cleaning, etc.). These workers are not employees of the bank. They are primary employees of third-party contractors.

The realignment in strategy became necessary in view of the need to position the financial institution to optimize its potentials amidst the global effect of Covid-19 on businesses, economies, manufacturing and banking services worldwide. It is part of the bank’s Drive for greater efficiency to enable it withstand global economic recession.

Analysts believe that the move was not surprising following the spate of strategic realignments by global institutions lately. They argued that only banks with strong capital and asset bases know where they are going and can make far reaching decisions on strategy. They maintain that the fundamentals of the bank are rock solid. The Group delivered solid earnings underscoring the value potentials of the newly expanded business franchise with Gross Earnings of ₦209.8bn, a 31% increase from the prior year. A major driver of this growth is the 58% increase in non-interest income to ₦77.9bn, on the back of improved gains on trading instruments and a decisive approach to grow transaction income sustainably through channels and other E-business.

Capital and liquidity position remained above regulatory levels, with a Capital Adequacy Ratio of 20.9% and liquidity ratio of 44.6%, demonstrating the capacity of the enlarged balance sheet to cope with possible shocks. Immense focus was also placed on asset quality with a conservative stance, backed with write offs to further drive our NPL ratio down to 5.5% in the period.

The bank has consistently exhibited robustness and unusual strength. It remains a dominant player in the banking industry. The assets base of the Bank remained strong and diversified with growth of 2% YTD in Total Assets to ₦7.28trn in March 2020 from ₦7.15trn in December 2019. Net Loans and Advances totaled ₦3.15trn as at March 2020 (December 2019: ₦3.06trn), while Customer deposits increased by 5% to ₦4.46trn in March 2020, from ₦4.26trn in December 2019.

Going forward through the pandemic season, the CEO engaged staff members on how the bank intends to handle the reality forced on it by the coronavirus pandemic that has impacted negatively on institutions world over.

He explained to them that all staff members would be affected in some degree of reduction in wages with him taking the highest pay cut of 40 per cent.

The reductions are expected to start from May. However, everything would be restored as soon as the economy returns to normal. “Going into this difficult time we need to rationalize our cost structure, rationalize our service providers and prune our salary structure.

The challenge of the post Covid-19 period to the world economy presents difficult options to institutions and only proactive CEOs can lead their institutions out of the recession.

Access Bank Plc. is a leading full-service commercial Bank operating through a network of over 660 branches and service outlets, spanning three continents, 12 countries and over 35 million customers. The Bank employs over 28,000 people in its operations in Nigeria and has subsidiaries in Sub-Saharan Africa and the United Kingdom (with a branch in Dubai, UAE) and representative offices in China, Lebanon and India.

Listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange since 1998, Access Bank is a diversified financial institution which combines a strong retail customer franchise and digital platform with deep corporate banking expertise and proven risk management and capital management capabilities. The Bank serves its various markets through four business segments: Retail, Business, Commercial and Corporate. The Bank has over 900,000 shareholders (including several Nigerian and International Institutional Investors) and has enjoyed what is arguably Africa’s most successful banking growth trajectory in the last twelve years. Following its merger with Diamond Bank in March 2019, Access Bank has become one of Africa’s largest retail banks by retail customer base.

As part of its continued growth strategy, Access Bank is focused on mainstreaming sustainable business practices into its operations. The Bank strives to deliver sustainable economic growth that is profitable, environmentally responsible and socially relevant, helping customers to access more and achieve their dreams.

 

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