Access Bank Plc has revealed its intention to embark on mass retrenchment of staff, pay cut for the rest of its workforce and closure of several of its branches nationwide as measures against the sweeping adverse impact of COVID-19 on the lender.
Herbert Wigwe, the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the bank, said in an Instagram video that the “difficult decision” was inevitable and necessary in order to “protect our franchise and make us stronger as we go into the future.
“We probably don’t need as many security men as required even to the fact that we are not going to have all our branches open between now and December.
“We certainly don’t need all the security men. We don’t need all the tea girls. We don’t need all the cleaners. We don’t need all the tellers etc.
So that number of staff, which represents seventy five per cent of our staff strength, I think is one that we basically need to speak with their employers, with a view to getting them to rationalise to the levels that we think will be necessary to basically sustain a mean but actually customer-service oriented institution,” Mr Wigwe said.
Access Bank, which prides itself as Africa’s largest bank by customer base, has customers in excess of 40 million, its GMD stated at the company’s virtual Annual General Meeting on Thursday.
It consummated a merger with the defunct Diamond Bank in April last year, making it one of the five biggest banks in Nigeria in terms of assets, loans, deposits and branch network with over 600 branches and 28,000 employees.
On cutting costs, Wigwe said “I will be the first to take the hit and I am going to take the largest pay cut, which will be as much as 40 per cent. The rest I will have to cascade right through the institution. Everybody may have to make some adjustment of some sorts.”
Mr Wigwe is currently among the top 5 shareholders of the bank, directly holding 201,231,713 shares and indirectly holding 1,240,291,197 through United Alliance Company of Nigeria Limited, and Trust and Capital Limited as of 31st December 2019.
His annual remuneration, according to Access Bank’s Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements for the Year Ended 31 December 2019, was N85.160 million.
Watch video by MD: