In a meeting held few days ago with some staff of the bank via Microsoft’s Teams (video) tilted Employee Town Hall Meeting, the Group Managing Director of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, informed them of some strategic moves that the financial institution would take this month to ensure it weathered the ravaging effects of the present crisis shaking the world.
In that meeting he disclosed that the decision would affect the bank’s 5,870 permanent staff him included, as his salary would be cut by 40%.
Part of his statement reads; “One thing that has come out from the lockdown is that digital is the way forward. We do not need the complement of staff to take us to where we are going. It has also shown that non-essential staff, particularly from the outsourced staff, may not be at the level that we require to be in the future.
“We do not need all the security personnel, cleaners, tellers among others that we have now, considering the fact that not all our branches would be open between now and December. We will talk to the employers of that number of staff, which represent about 75% of our staff strength, to rationalize to the level we think would make us a customer-oriented financial institution that we are.
“We are also looking at a professional cut. I understand that that is very tricky because it comes with pains. I will be the first to take the heat and I will take the largest pay cut as much as 40%. Everybody may have to make some adjustments of the sort. We understand the difficulties people are going through but also understand the higher calling of creating an institution that can continue to provide for us. When things improve tomorrow, we shall revert to normal. We understand the difficulties facing the people but we have to protect our franchise.” Herbert Wigwe.
Recall that Access Bank acquired rival Diamond Bank Plc last year and that partly contributed to a 31% increase in operating expenses. Personnel, recruitment, and training costs account for more than a third of overheads after the deal boosted employee numbers and resulted in “wage harmonization” across the businesses. As at December 2019, Access Bank’s personnel cost was about N76.9 billion up from N57.1 billion same period in 2018. The spike was mostly due to the merger with Diamond Bank where it also absorbed legacy Diamond Bank staff.