Thandiwe Katinhimure, Business Reporter
STANDARD Chartered Bank says it will be closing down four more branches across the country in favour of digital processes following the emergence of mobile and online banking platforms.
The bank’s head of corporate affairs and brand marketing in Zimbabwe, Mrs Lilian Hapanyengwi, told Chronicle Business that they have already closed Belmont, Kwekwe, Kadoma and Chinhoyi branches.
“As our clients and the world go digital and our branch transaction traffic is decreasing, we are always evaluating how we should reformat our current channels to deliver the most efficient service to our clients.
“Standard Chartered Bank is leveraging the growth of digital banking and we are currently investing in and enhancing our mobile and online infrastructure,” said Mrs Hapanyengwi.
She however said the bank will remain a player in the local banking sector and as such it will continue to maintain long standing commitment to doing business in Zimbabwe.
“Standard Chartered Bank has taken the conscious decision to continue to maintain its long standing commitment to doing business in Zimbabwe. With a history of more than 125 years, we remain committed to the long term interests of our staff and customers in Zimbabwe. We will continue to facilitate the development and growth of the economy,” said Mrs Hapanyengwi.
Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union, Mr Peter Mutasa however described the bank’s move as a deliberate ploy to maximise profits by cutting out labour costs and retrenching staff from the branches.
“The bank confirmed that it will be closing down eight branches across the country because it wants to digitalise its processes. They are working on profit maximisation taking advantage of the trending mobile and online banking platforms to replace workers with robots,” he said.
Mr Mutasa said the move was a major setback for the workers who will be retrenched and paid the minimum severance package of two weeks salary for every year served which was not much.
“This move greatly disadvantages workers who will be paid very little and as such they will not have enough to start a new life,” said Mr Mutasa.