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Access Bank denies closing branches, sacking workers

Access Bank Plc has reacted to news spreading round the country that it had pencilled down 340 of its branches for closure and 75% of its workers for sacking. The bank has come out with a message denying staff retrenchment or branch closure. The terse statement simply said; “Access Bank is neither closing branches nor sacking staff”.

Last week, a video whose source could not be confirmed was posted on the net purportedly showing the managing Director of Access Bank, 53-year old Herbert Wigwe, talking about sacking a greater proportion of the bank’s staff members. That might have prompted the Bankers’ Committee to meet to review the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Nigerian banking industry. The committee met May 2, and the following day, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued a statement asking all banks to suspend any impending retrenchment of either full-time or part-time (ad-hoc) workers. The Apex bank said its express authorization must be obtained if it becomes absolutely necessary to lay-off any members of staff of any bank in Nigeria.

If the stories making the rounds were true, and assuming CBN did not step in, it will be difficult to understand how Access Bank, which says it is  consistently seeking for ways to expand its service platform across the African continent,  could have been operating with only 26 branches if it closed 340 of its 366 branches!. The bank currently operates through a network of about 366 branches across major cities and commercial centres in Nigeria, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.


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