Sterling Bank Plc has sacked 400 workers in a systematic mass retrenchment aimed at reducing overhead cost, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Investigation NAN showed that 97 per cent of the retrenched workers were former staff of Equatorial Trust Bank Ltd. acquired by Sterling.
A source close to the bank said that the mass sack, which started about three weeks ago would also affect another 150 workers because of the consolidation of the two banks.
He said that workers were thrown into the nation's saturated labour market with only three months' salary as severance package.
A member of the Executive Management staff, who wants to remain anonymous, said that the retrenchment was their best option toward sustainable growth and return to profitability.
He said that the workers were only victims of the economy, adding that they had to relieve them of their jobs to grow the bank.
NAN recalls that Mr Yemi Adeola, the Managing Director of Sterling Bank had at a recent annual general meeting, said that the business combination with former ETB had improved its scale and size.
Adeola said that the combination allowed the bank to leverage on the unique strengths of both banks to consolidate on overall market position.
According to him, 2012 would be another challenging operating year following current difficult global and local macro economic conditions.
"We see clear opportunities for reducing the bank's cost-to-income ratio and increase revenues as the improved economic of scale arising from the business combination with ETB kick in," Adeola said.
Meanwhile, Sterling Bank before the business combination grew its gross earnings by 49 per cent to N45.2 billion in 2011 compared with N30.4 billion in 2010.
The operating income in the period under review increased by 32 per cent to N27 billion from N20.4 billion in 2010.
Profit after tax increased by 11 per cent to N4.6 billion as against N4.2 billion in 2010. NAN