StanChart denies externalisation claims

HARARE - Standard Chartered Bank (StanChart) Zimbabwe has denied externalisation claims laid by its former workers saying the financial institution was committed to reviving the country’s ailing economy by sourcing cheap external loans.

This comes as the bank’s former workers last week petitioned the British Embassy in Harare to act on the Standard Chartered Plc Zimbabwean unit’s alleged externalisation of funds resulting in massive retrenchments.

But the group’s corporate affairs head, Lillian Hapanyengwi, told businessdaily that the bank has taken the conscious decision to continue to maintain its long-standing commitment to doing business in Zimbabwe.

“We remain committed to the long-term interests of our staff and clients in Zimbabwe, and to continuing to facilitate the development and growth of the economy,” she said.

Hapanyengwi noted that StanChart, as a group, aims to be lean and financially-strong, building momentum towards a better balanced business with growth in higher-returning retail and wealth segments complementing a returns-focused corporate and institutional banking which leverages its  unique footprint and network.

“Regrettably, the realignment of our strategy has meant some staff losses in markets across our business in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. As always, we retain the strictest level of compliance with local regulations and endeavour to reallocate roles as far as possible to minimise any negative impact,” she added.

Last week, the Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (Zibawu) organised a demonstration against Stanchart accusing the bank of “centralising” its operations in Kenya and India, a move which they said was prejudicing the local economy.

“We would not mind having a brotherly-relationship with our African brothers in Kenya or our counterparts in India but what we do not accept is that their economies prospered at our expense,” said Zibawu president Farai Katsande

However, Hapanyengwi said the bank’s international strategy to outsource processing to various centres has been in place for many years, supporting the StanChart markets across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

“Hubbing select operations enables Standard Chartered, and many other multi-national companies, to streamline internal business processes and efficiencies, and most importantly, deliver an enhanced and consistent level of service to our retail, commercial and institutional clients,” she said.

Economic experts say with the fast deteriorating economic conditions in Zimbabwe — where gross domestic product is expected to grow by at most one percent due to an acute drought and low aggregate demand — it was only prudent for companies to streamline operations.

With the global economic outlook not expected to improve much this year due to falling international metal prices, several multinational companies such as Yahoo, General Electric, Anglo American and Samsung are also retrenching.

Comments (7)

Hapanyengwi

T - 9 February 2016

They can justify closure of indigenous company accounts under the the guise having reviewed their business strategy and banking model yet they say they are committed to reviving the country ailing economy.Who do they intend to channel to the so called cheap funds that they say they are sourcing?

Kenan Moyera - 9 February 2016

Corrected: Can they justify closure of indigenous company accounts under the guise (We have reviewed our business strategy model and the banking services we offer to clients) yet they say they are committed to reviving the ailing economy.Who are going to be the beneficiaries of the so called cheap funds that they say they are sourcing if they shut down accounts because they have not transacted above 50k, knowingly of the prevailing situation on the ground

Kenan Moyera - 9 February 2016

With their stated commitment to Zimbabwe, why didn't they try to save jobs in Zimbabwe by "hubbing select operations . ." such as balance inquiries and some such to Zimbabwe, seeing Kenya (for example) is not in an as dire a situation as Zimbabwe?

Biggie Taapatsi - 9 February 2016

I do not see where the problem is here with Stanchart or any other company for that matter streamlining/rationalising/realigning their business model. It is simply necessitated by prevailing market forces and general economic environment, period. I am sure if it were "you" running Stanchart or any business in any sector you would react in the same manner. No need to politicise a business decision.

TC - 11 February 2016

the reason behind getting into business is to make profit without which no business would survive. simple. so expect stanchart to take any measures that will ensure it is cost effective and profitable. my dear comrades should look elsewhere for employment or better still create it rather than brood over the impossible. get ito business yourselves and see what it really is like. it is no child play. i left stanchart in the 1980s late when i saw the writing on the wall.

edika edikavic - 11 February 2016

you are right TC

edika - 11 February 2016

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