StanChart branch closure signals banking job losses

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Standard Chartered Bank Kenya (StanChart)will shut down its Malindi branch at the end of April.

The lender announced this in a notice that did not provide reasons for the closure, but which signals an era of shifting towards digital banking as lenders transfer their services online amid falling customer traffic at branches.

“This is to inform you that we will close Malindi branch effective May 1, 2019. We will retain our ATM services within Malindi for 24-hour express services and convenience,” said StanChart.

The lender advised its Coast-based clients to access services from its two branches in the region including Maritime House branch on Moi Avenue and Treasury Square branch on Nkrumah Road in Mombasa.

The lender did not respond to Business Daily queries on how many employees the Malindi branch closure will affect.

Towards the end of August 2017, StanChart announced it would shut down four of its branches in Bungoma, Kisii, Kitengela and Warwick (Nairobi).

“All the affected staff will be deployed to branches and other roles in the bank,” said the bank then.

Former chief executive Lamin Manjang had linked earlier closures to reduced customer traffic into its outlets as clients shift to digital platforms to carry out transactions.

“We continuously undertake a branch rationalisation programme in line with our digital by design strategy, which is geared towards developing market-leading online and mobile channels that deliver easy, convenient banking to all our clients.”

The lender currently plans to roll out a regional digital strategy that cuts reliance on brick-and-mortar banking that its London-based parent company initiated.

While the automation is expected to lead to efficiency and reduced operational costs, it has been feared that it could also result in staff cuts or a slowdown in fresh recruitments for the lender, which let go about 167 employees in 2015 in a restructuring that its London-based owner also initiated.

The launch of its digitally-led retail banks has already kicked off in Tanzania and Ghana, with Kenya’s roll-out scheduled set to occur before the end of the first quarter of this year.

“Digitising Africa continues to be an integral component of our strategic transformation, and we have been steadily expanding our footprint across the continent.

“We are constantly looking for ways to push the boundaries, by providing our customers innovative solutions and technologies,” said Sunil Kaushal, StanChart regional CEO, Africa and the Middle East.