Banks to close branches as recession bites hard

Following the recession in Nigeria, some commercial banks may close many of their branches which they termed unprofitable branches, just as it was indicated that the financial institutions would lay off hundreds of workers between now and December 2016.

The disclosure came barely 24 hours after Unity Bank Plc sacked about 300 workers.

It could be recalled that earlier in the year, Diamond Bank Plc, Ecobank and Skye Bank Plc laid off over 3,000 workers.

Some top bank executives who confirmed the development to journalists on Monday but didn’t want their names in print, said some lenders might be forced to relieve more workers of their duties before the end of this year.

An executive director in one of the banks that recently asked some of its workers to go said, “We have laid off some of our staff members but that it still not enough. Many branches are just existing for the sake of being there. They are not generating enough income. What they are bringing in is far less than what the bank is incurring as costs on them.

“We may have to close such branches before the year ends. I know a number of other banks that are planning something similar.”

Commenting on the development, an ex-banker and Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, described branch closure as an ongoing action in the banking sector, especially in times of economic downturn.

He, however, noted that banks were required to notify the Central Bank of Nigeria before closing any branch.



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