Barclays Bank of Kenya Set to Lay off Hundreds of Workers
Barclays Bank has become the latest lender to sack its employees in an exercise targeting about 300 employees.
However, in a statement to The Standard, the lender confirmed it was rolling out a Voluntary Exit Scheme that is open to all permanent employees but said it will only affect 130 employees. “This exercise will take place over a period of one month commencing June 19, this year and around 130 employees are expected to take up the offer.”
But an insider reliably informed The Standard that the exercise could target up to 300 employees. It is understood that hours after the announcement, about 76 employees had already filed their application.
The lender started the process on Tuesday after it invited its employees to apply for voluntary retirement, which is usually the first process in the retrenchment exercise.
“In the last few years, we have seen a material uptake of mobile and online banking as well as other alternative channels driven by customer preference and a desire to transact around the clock,” an email sent to its employees read in part.
“Consequently, in order to satisfy our customers’ preference and provide the desired customer experiences both now and in the future, we have been investing in automaton and digitisation programme,” the firm further explained.
The lender says it has been forced to lay off some employees since it ‘has been operating in an increasingly challenging environment’ that has forced it ‘to adapt to the prevailing market circumstances.” The bank has given its staff two weeks to apply for the voluntary exit scheme. The exit package includes a one-month basic pay in lieu of notice, an exit pay calculated at one month basic pay for every year completed but subject to a maximum of 24 months. It will also offer employees medical cover until the end of the year.
“Loans will remain on staff rates for a period of 12 months from release date then revert to commercial rates,” the email read in part.
Most of those expected to be affected are staff in operations department and the head office.
This comes days after the Bank’s parent company, Barclays PLC, sold its controlling stake in the unit that owns its business in Africa.
Barclays Bank now joins a growing list of lenders that have announced layoffs, staff cuts and branch closures since the coming into force of new legislation capping interest rates. At least nine banks have already sacked employees in what has seen more than 2,000 people lose their banking jobs.
The country’s biggest bank by asset Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) is laying-off over 500 employees with an offer for early retirement. First Community Bank, which does not even charge interest, also announced it was cutting down on staff.
Last December, the National Bank of Kenya (NBK) announced plans to lay off staff and offer an incentive early voluntary retirement plan starting January this year.
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