22 November 2012

Ghana: Spate of Resignations Leave Access Bank Brink

Unfolding events in the aftermath of the Access Bank Ghana/Intercontinental Bank Ghana merger have revealed some internal challenges be devilling the merged Bank, as a result of how the amalgamation was consummated.

A disturbing phenomenon which has hit Access Bank Ghana Limited is the spate of staff resignations and the continuous reduction in the Bank's customer deposits.

Inquiry into the bank has revealed that since January 2012, over 160 core staff, who occupied middle and senior management positions have exited the Bank and the number continues to rise.

Some industry analysts share the belief that the Bank was not doing much to curb the phenomenon, which some current staff explained to be as a result of the alleged continuous intimidating management style of the MD, Dolapo Ogundimu.

What is more disturbing, according to inside sources, is that anybody who resigns from Access Bank is deemed by other colleagues to have come out of 'servitude' and therefore receives congratulations from other colleagues.

When quizzed why some staff (including those originally from Access Bank) are resigning almost on a daily basis, one staff member who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were not comfortable with the unresolved staff-related issues pending at the courts and the National Labour Commission, and the manner in which the Bank is handling them.

The staff expressed concern that the Bank may be suffering from image problems which was making deposit mobilisation difficult for them with all its attendant pressure.

Another staff who was frustrated by the alleged actions and management style of the MD, Dolapo Ogundimu, expressed regret for not joining the Labour Commission action.

In a bid to salvage the situation, the Managing Director was said to have directed that all staff resignations should be forwarded to his office, underlying the level of desperation the bank finds itself.

"How can you work in an environment where the MD has directed that if you want to resign, bring your resignation letter to my office", lamented one unhappy staff.

The exit of the over 160 key staff of the Bank this year, coupled with the apathy of the existing staff has impacted poorly on the quality of service delivered to customers.

In August this year, myjoyonline.com cited Access Bank among others, as one of the worst in service delivery in the banking industry, in an article titled 'Customers blacklist nine banks'.

Analysis of the Bank's financial statement as at September 30, 2012, indicates that the Bank's profit levels have seen a sharp increase.

However, the core measure of a bank's growth, which is total deposit liabilities and total assets, has slumped; a situation inside sources attributed to the numerous staff resignations that have plagued the bank. Customer deposits have been dropping consistently since March 2012.

According to the published accounts of the two banks, at the end of the 2011 financial year, the then Intercontinental Bank recorded customer deposits of GH¢619m, with Access Bank recording GH¢171m, a combined deposits base of GH¢790m.

As at September 2012, however, customer deposits for the merged Bank had dropped to a little over GH¢500m, representing a whopping 35% drop within 9 months when the industry had grown by about 12% within the same period.

Total Assets of the two Banks, for instance, stood at about GH¢1b at the end of 2011. However, records indicate that this had dropped to GH¢794m by September 2012, six months after the merger representing a drop of 21%.

Ironically, the parent bank, Access Bank Plc, Nigeria has recorded some decent growth since its merger with Intercontinental Bank Plc was concluded.

The Bank was recently ranked 11th on the list of top 25 companies in the West African capital markets comprising the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Ghanaian Stock Exchange and the Abidjan-based Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières SA (Regional Securities Exchange SA).

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