South Africa's Standard Bank to cut around 1,200 jobs, close 91 branches
(Adds more details)
JOHANNESBURG, March 14 (Reuters) - South African lender
Standard Bank will cut around 1,200 jobs and close 91
branches as part of efforts to digitise its retail and business
bank, it said on Thursday.
South Africa's lenders, like others around the world, have
been shuttering branches and trimming their headcount in an
attempt to cut costs and adapt to customers' growing preference
to bank online or on their mobile phones.
"This has not been an easy decision to make," the bank,
South Africa's largest by assets, said in a statement, adding it
would implement a "comprehensive exit package" that goes beyond
the legal requirements.
Job cuts are sensitive in South Africa, where unemployment
stands at 27 percent, and Standard Bank's announcement comes on
the back of plans to cut 526 jobs announced in November.
South African finance trade union, SASBO, did not
immediately respond to requests for comment.
As well as sprawling branch and IT networks and large
workforces - exceeding 50,000 at Standard Bank - South African
lenders are grappling with a stagnant economy, where consumers
have reined in borrowing amid high debt levels and other strains
on their income.
Last week, Standard Bank said it grew its full-year earnings
at less than half the pace it saw in 2017.
The majority of the branches due to close will shut by June,
Standard Bank said, adding new job opportunities would become
available in the bank, meaning the total number of employees
that lose their jobs could be lower.
(Reporting by Emma Rumney; Editing by Mark Potter)
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