Access Bank Plc plans to cut salaries to avoid job losses as a lockdown to contain the coronavirus hampers the operations of Nigeria’s biggest lender, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.
The reductions are expected to start from May unless business conditions improve, said the people, who were briefed on the matter during a conference call and asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak publicly. Some management will get as much as a 40% decrease, they said.
A spokesman for Lagos-based Access Bank declined to comment.
Nigerian banks are facing the threat of rising bad-debt levels as a crash in oil prices and the risk of a naira devaluation coincide with the Covid-19 pandemic that has shuttered businesses.
Access Bank, which acquired rival Diamond Bank Plc last year, had 6,898 permanent staff at the end of 2019, according to a presentation on its website. The acquisition partly contributed to a 31% increase in operating expenses. Personnel, recruitment and training costs account for more than a third of overheads after the deal boosted employee numbers and resulted in “wage harmonization” across the businesses.