By Alois Vinga
STANDARD Chartered Bank is set to close at least seven branches across the country due to the emergence of mobile and online banking platforms, which have taken a toll on banking sector jobs.
The Financial Gazette understands that staff had been advised that at least seven branches would be closed down as the bank moves to centralise its operations. Staff working at the affected branches would be retrenched, they said. Staff working at the affected branches would be retrenched, they said.
“We are going to be paid a fortnight’s salary for every year served as part of our retrenchment packages,” said one bank employee who said he would be affected.
Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union, secretary general, Peter Mutasa, confirmed the development, but said details were still sketchy.
“Our members alerted us on that matter, but as of now I cannot give finer details as we are yet to meet the bank’s management over the matter. I will come back to you with finer details,” he said.
Lilian Hapanyengwi, the bank’s spokesperson, said: “As our clients and the world go digital and our branch transaction traffic is decreasing, we are always evaluating how we should reformat our current channels to deliver the most efficient service to our clients.”
She said Standard Chartered was “leveraging on the growth of digital banking and we are currently investing in and enhancing our mobile and online infrastructure”.
“Also, as we continue to evaluate our strategy in line with the external environment and client needs, at times this may lead to job losses, but our aim is to redeploy impacted staff wherever possible,” she said.
She noted that the bank’s international strategy to outsource processing to various centres had been in place for many years, supporting the bank’s markets across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
She noted that Standard Chartered would remain a player in the local banking sector.
“Standard Chartered has taken the conscious decision to continue to maintain our long-standing commitment to doing business in Zimbabwe. With a history of over 125 years, we remain committed to the long-term interests of our staff, clients and the wider community in Zimbabwe, and to continuing to facilitate the development and growth of the economy,” she said.