BY PATIENCE RADISOENG
Stanbic Bank Botswana confirmed that the bank will not be retrenching any workers as they move towards a more digital forefront. This is in relation to when recently the parent, Standard Bank Group announced that it will cut about 1,200 South African Jobs and close 91 branches by June this year with efforts to digitalize its retail and business bank.
“These changes will impact approximately 1 200 jobs. However the actual number of employees who will ultimately exit the employ of Standard Bank South Africa (SA) could be lower, as new opportunities will become available in the new operating model,” a statement from the bank said.
The bank said this has not been an easy decision to make and has promised to offer assistance to those affected by their decision. However, that will likely be little consolation to those left in the fray.
“We have also set aside funds to assist employees to acquire new skills to improve their competitiveness in the labour market, as well as entrepreneurial training and financial assistance. We recognize that this is a very stressful time for everyone.”
In Botswana, the Public Relation Manager of Stanbic Bank Botswana-Ruth Modisane says digitalization is a trend that is observed across a number of industries, and banks are certainly no exception.
“As Stanbic Bank Botswana, digital transformation plays a part of our business strategy; as do our 600 strong staff who drive the digital but fit-for-customer agenda. There are no planned or anticipated impacts on our staffing and we will continue to invest in upskilling and relevant training to better equip our staff in this increasingly digital economy,” she said.
Modisane noted, “Everything we do is geared toward growing the economy and sustainably improving the lives of Batswana; as such we will continue to play and add value in major industries including Mining; Power; Agriculture; Trade and Tourism, to name a few.”
However last year media reports stated that the country’s top commercial banks, Stanbic Bank Botswana included were battling with the decline in their net interest income.
The bank’s statement of profits/loss and other comprehensive income shows that at the time of closing the books, then bank had recorded a 22 percent growth in net interest, partly driven by a 5 percent growth in customer loans, combined with 6 percent decline in interest expenses. At the same time, the bank recorded return on equity of 21 percent. Still during the same period under review, the bank posted Profit After Tax of P243 million, representing an annual growth of 24 percent.
Just like its peers, the bank blames the general rise in impairments on tough operating environment in the banking sector.
“We observed a significant rise in overall credit impairment provisioning during the year in the banking sector. The bank managed to reduce the impairment charge by 8 percent on account of prudent lending over the years as well as benefiting from intense focus on credit counselling, remediation and recoveries”, reads parts of the statement accompanying the Stanbic Bank’s financials.