From bank tellers to self service on your palms

Across the board, a section of the banking staff, especially the tellers seem to be on the verge of losing their once lucrative jobs.

 

Across the board, a section of the banking staff, especially the tellers seem to be on the verge of losing their once lucrative jobs. The commercial banks implicated, however, cite tough operating environment as well as the changing market which they serve. The larger market is now online and on mobile.

The following banks have shown cause for shrinking their physical infrastructure owing to the tightening competition in the mobile and internet space.

1.      Equity Bank

In the last quarter of last year, Equity Bank sent home 400 employees despite reporting an 18 per cent rise in after-tax profit.

The group’s chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dr. James Mwangi, said the bank’s workforce declined by 400 in the nine months owing to natural attrition — continuing a trend that started last year when it shed 660 jobs through voluntary exits.

Equity has officially announced a freeze in staff recruitment as it shifts its operations to technology-driven platforms such as Equitel and agency banking.

Business Daily newspaper reported a four percent rise in the bank’s payroll to its current Sh8.7 billion, majorly driven by the pay rise for staff. The bank has since frozen additional recruitments.

Speaking during the Investor briefing, however, Dr. Mwangi rubbished claims that the physical infrastructures of the bank will be shut, and instead affirmed that the current staff across the branches will be used as customer care executives for the newly launched Eazzy Banking platform.

2.      StanChart Bank

The imminent sackings at StanChart followed a trend by Kenyan lenders seeking to contain ballooning staff costs by turning to technology, one of the flourishing turnaround being implemented by the lenders.

StanChart’s staff costs have more than doubled over the last five years to hit Sh5.7 billion as at December 2014 from Sh2.8 billion at the end of 2009, the lender said.

Despite this, the bank remains one of the most efficient institutions with the upcoming layoffs set to further reduce its operating costs. the move, however, speculators say, may have been brought about by the capping of interest rates that was ascended to law by the president, sparking layoffs across the lending space.

3.      Ecobank Kenya

Ecobank Kenya recently restructured the region into a single hub which combined Eastern, southern and central Africa under one cluster headquartered in Nairobi. This move reduced the number of regional hubs across Africa from seven to four.

The Pan-African lender Ecobank already announced new top management changes under a restructuring that will see five Kenyans, out of the six locals appointed to lead the regional positions.

Already the lender is contemplating on merging its operations in a bid to shrink its physical facilities across the country in what the management terms as a cost cutting action.

4.      Sidian Bank

Towards the end of last year, Kenya’s Sidian Bank made an announcement to retrench more than 108 employees, an exercise which set back approximately Sh70 million of its accounts, according to the bank’s CEO Titus Karanja.

Speaking during a media briefing in Nairobi, the CEO said that the bank will extend a credit facility to employees willing to be retrenched but they must meet a set of pre-established guidelines which including having existing businesses.

“We want our employees to become entrepreneurs and employ other youths outside there and as such, we have allowed those willing to go for voluntary retirement”. He said

“We shall only be giving credit access to those who have access to data that enables effective credit score and own secured businesses as a basis for funding,” noted Karanja.

According to Titus, the bank has currently invested in a very robust IT system forcing them t

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