Access Bank Plc yesterday denied reports that it planned to sack 75 per cent of its workforce and as well close more than 300 branches.
The bank, in a statement signed by Mr Sunday Ekwochi, its Company Secretary, and obtained from the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) website, described the news as malicious and a distraction from the genuine and compassionate plan to protect its staff and help keep jobs in the unfolding macroeconomic environment.
It said the closure of a bank branch was an action that required the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
According to the bank, it has not applied for nor obtained the approval of CBN for the closure of its branches as widely speculated.
“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; whilst we continued to provide services through our alternative digital platforms.
“In line with the phased re-opening of the economy effective May 4, following the Presidential directives, we will be resuming in-branch services in some of our affected branches in a programmed manner to ensure the health and safety of our employees and customers.
“This is also necessary to provide relevant contingency should there be any incident arising from the pandemic.
“We deny in its entirety the baseless and twisted speculation that the bank is sacking 75 per cent of its workforce,” said the statement.
It noted that based on the impact of the COVID-19, not all its branches would be fully open for in-branch services until later in the year.
“This has made it impossible for many of our outsourced workers to perform duties as usual. We have commenced engagement with various stakeholders with a view to ensuring that they provide the relevant services and optimum manpower as may be required by the bank on an on-going basis,” it added.
The bank, however, assured its esteemed stakeholders that it would continue to ensure that its actions and decisions are guided by fairness, justice, equity and good conscience.
“As we navigate the new normal occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, we wish to assure all our esteemed stakeholders that our traditional manner the bank will continue to ensure that its actions and decisions are guided by fairness, justice, equity and good conscience,” the bank noted further.