Access Bank on Saturday, May 2; announced the closure of over 300 branches nationwide in a move to reduce operating costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This move comes in the wake of a statement made by Herbert Wigwe, the group managing director of Access Bank, who explained the reasons behind a planned mass retrenchment of its workforce.
Wigwe made this disclosure via video conferencing in a town hall meeting with the bank’s staff.
He revealed those to be affected by the mass retrenchment are 75% of the bank’s staff, most of whom are outsourced and are offering “non-essential services.”
“We probably don’t need as much security as required; even to the fact that we are not gonna have all our branches open between now and December. We don’t need all the tellers.” Wigwe said in the video.
“The second has to do with our professional cost. Now that is one that is very tricky and it is tricky because I do understand and appreciate that its gonna, you know, bring its own pain to staff.
“We basically have to make the adjustments the same way you sounded when we spoke 10 days ago with respect to basically cutting down cost.
“I will be the first to take the hit and I’m gonna take the largest pay cut, which would be as much as 40 percent. The rest we would have to cascade right through the institution. Everybody may have to make some adjustments of some sort.”
Wigwe, one of the principal conveners of CA-COVID; a coalition of Nigeria’s private sector against COVID-19 said the proposed measures are aimed at keeping the bank afloat in the face of the economic realities of COVID-19.
Industry watchers believe that Wigwe’s retrenchment policy affects the most vulnerable of his staffers and will be counter-productive for many families; especially the poor if the books of the bank truly show just as his philanthropy does; that it has the capacity to cushion the effect at such a precarious moment in history.