Barclays Zim may cut jobs

HARARE - Banking group Barclays Plc’s Zimbabwe unit says it may lay off some of its workers if the move improves operational efficiencies.

This comes as the parent company has decided to axe at least 12 000 jobs by 2015 in a bid to contain costs and counter falling income.

George Guvamatanga, Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe Limited (Barclays Zim)’s managing director, told businessdaily on Tuesday that the local arm — now part of the Barclays Africa Group — would “continue to review operations as technology and cost pressures reshape the financial services industry”.

“Over the years we have embarked on initiatives to enhance operating efficiencies.

“This involved progressively reducing the staff numbers by half through voluntary restructuring exercises done between 2009 and 2011,” he said, adding some processes were streamlined while the operating scale was progressively reviewed.

He noted that between 2012 and 2013 total costs were kept flat as the business continued to explore ways to manage the cost base.

“Cost increases in the near future will be due to some necessary investment in branch refurbishments and technology upgrades but focus will also be to preserve the benefits created from initiatives taken so far,” said Guvamatanga, who is also president of the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe.

Barclays Zim is currently under pressure to comply with the country’s indigenisation policy — compelling foreigners to cede majorityshareholding to black locals.

This week, Barclays Plc said out of the 12 000 job cuts, 7 000 would be in Britain and the affected staff has already been notified.

The group said the cuts are not concentrated in any single business area.

Guvamatanga said Barclays Zim  is well positioned to sustain business growth going forward and hoped macro-economic policies would be supportive of the bank’s aspirations.

“We will push for innovation for the benefit of new and existing customers, to bank the unbanked and to implement cost effective ways to serve our customers and clients.

“We remain focused on delivering long- term sustainable returns, which has been a consistent theme in our strategy over the past 5 years.

“Leveraging our international lineage and strong regional relationship with group businesses allows us to extend global expertise to our customers,” he said.

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