Standard Chartered (StanChart) staff costs have dropped by 18.4 per cent to Sh6.27 billion last year from Sh7.68 billion in 2020 as the lender laid off staff members totaling about 100 jobs.
According to the bank’s most recent disclosures, Kenya’s StanChart staff costs have fallen to the lowest level in six years after shedding over 800 jobs since 2014.
The costs are the lowest they’ve been since 2015, when the annual budget was Sh6.22 billion. The reduction is the result of retrenchments and natural attrition.
“We are now down to 22 branches and colleagues, just below 100, have been impacted,” said StanChart Kenya Chief Executive Kariuki Ngari in an interview with a local TV station.
StanChart has cut at least 868 jobs since 2014, despite the fact that the number of branches has decreased from 42 in 2016.
StanChart spent over Sh2.11 billion on redundancies in the seven years leading up to 2020 as it shifted to digital channels to serve customers.
As Covid-19 pushed many customers to digital platforms, the lender closed eight branches in Nairobi last year, including T-Mall, Moi Avenue, Two Rivers and Upper Hill.
The bank employed 2,048 people in 2014, but that number is expected to fall to 1,280 by 2020.
Ngari stated that approximately twenty employees were redeployed into other roles within the company, and the bank continues to invest in reskilling employees for the new banking landscape.
He said it would be difficult to say the right level of staff has been achieved given the ever-changing technology and shifting customer needs.
“It is difficult to say we have reached the end because I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Technology changes things and creates new opportunities,” he said.
Footfall in banking halls has been decreasing, putting customer-facing jobs like tellers at risk as most customers continue to prefer branch transactions.
Ngari stated that investments in areas such as wealth advisory have been necessitated by changing customer demands, with some branches experiencing a 90 per cent drop in footfall.
“We have seen that shift. It is moving away from brick and mortar into new areas that the new dispensation we are operating in requires,” he said.
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020 accelerated the fall in branch activities as people sought alternative channels such as mobile and online banking to lower the risk of contracting the virus.