Access Bank denies ‘rumours’ of closing branches, sacking staff

Access Bank has described as rumours claims that it was closing over 300 branches in Nigeria to customers and downsizing its workforce by 75 percent.

In a statement released on its website, the bank stated that, as a responsible corporate citizen, it would not shut down any branch without the approval of the regulator, the Central Bank of Nigeria, while claiming to have only suspended operations in some branches as directed by the CBN.

The statement reads, “The bank has only suspended operations in some branches following the directive by the CBN. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, we suspended in-branch operations at different locations as directed by the CBN and in line with business continuity plans at vulnerable spots while we continue to provide services through our alternative digital platforms.”

The bank said following the gradual easing of the lockdown, in-branch operations would resume in some branches to ensure the health and safety of its workers.

The bank also described as “baseless and twisted speculation” the viral story that it was sacking 75 percent of its employees, calling it a malicious distraction.

“We deny in its entirety the baseless and twisted speculation that the bank is sacking 75 percent of its workforce. This is malicious and a distraction from a genuine and compassionate plan to protect our staff and help keep jobs in the unfolding macroeconomic environment,” the bank stated.

The added that since it did not expect that all its branches would be fully opened till later in the year, it was impossible for all its outsourced staff to be engaged as usual, but assured that all stakeholders would be engaged where necessary.

The rebuttal is coming days after the bank’s Managing Director, Herbert Wigwe, hinted about sacking some of its complementary staff – security men, tea girls, cleaners, tellers among others – while admitting that digital is the way forward.

However, the CBN, in concert with the Bankers’ Committee, had waded into the matter, assuring that no bank would lay off workers due to COVID-19.

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