COVID-19: Access Bank gasps for breath
By John Eche
Access Bank, arguably Africa’s largest bank by customer base is gasping for breath, no thanks to the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
And in a bid to ensure that it holds its head above water in the days ahead, the bank which has about 40 million account holders spread over some 600 branches in 12 countries, is currently taking a number of drastic steps.
Addressing staff of the bank which has its corporate headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Herbert Wigwe said the projected cuts would involve all categories of staff, with him, taking a 40 per cent claw back on his salaries during this period.
Until recently, the bank had signposted a brave package of launching out to becoming Africa’s preeminent financial window to the world.
Within this purview, it had in the past few years acquired Diamond Bank and Intercontinental Bank in Nigeria and more lately, also taken a controlling stake in Transnational Bank of Kenya.
Paradoxically some commentators argue, the new claw back which also involves the widespread laying off of ‘non-core banking staff’ was announced days after the bank’s announcement of a one billion naira donation to the Nigerian authorities as part of its contribution to stemming the spread of the COVID-19 scourge.
Mr Herbert Wigwe, MD/CEO, Access Bank