By Gloria Nwafor
There are palpable fears of job loss in the financial sector as banks move to contain rising high operating costs.In the first quarter of the year, the cost of diesel rose from N225 to over N750, an increase of over 230 per cent. The impact on business operations has forced some banks to adopt new survival measures, including office hour rationalisation.
Official banking hours, which used to be 8am to 4pm now vary depending on specific organisation and branches. For instance, First Bank and GTBank took the lead in reducing the hours of operations.
In a statement made available on its official website on April 10, Firstbank said it has revised operating opening and closing hours effective from Monday, April, 11.
Although, the bank did not adduce any reason for the action, it was gathered that the rising cost of diesel and difficult operating environment were part of the reasons.
According to the bank: “We have revised our banking hours across all our locations. The revised opening and closing hours will be effective from Monday, April 11, 2022.” The bank said that while some of its branches will maintain the status quo, other branches will function between the hours of 8:00 am and 3:00 pm, 8:00 am and 2:00 pm, 8:00 am and 1:00 pm and 10:00 am and 3:00 pm accordingly.
Similarly, GTBank reduced its operating closing hours from 5:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. over alleged incessant increase in diesel pump price.
The bank advised customers to consider digital banking options for any transactions beyond its new operating hours.
The Guardian gathered that other deposit money banks are strategising on how to cushion the effects of the harsh operating environment.
The strategies range from rationalisation, reduction in pay to closing down some branches regarded as ‘loss centres,’ as well as banning or outsourcing the operations of dispatch riders, for those that have not done so.
These developments are coming in the wake of the incessant national grid collapses that leave the country in darkness, forcing organisations to heavily rely on diesel for their operations.
Implementing the strategies, The Guardian gathered, would increase the already high rate of unemployment in the country.
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