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    Friday, March 25, 2022

    Banks Reduces Operational Hours as Diesel Prices Skyrocket

    As part of the strategy to remain profitable financial entities, many banks operating in the country have reduced operational hours as cost-saving measures, following the abnormal hike in the cost of diesel, which currently sells at about N800 per litre.

    This strategy implored by many banks would help to curb the impact of the rising cost of their operating expenses.

    Another strategy implored by others was to limit stay periods for their staff at the office. For instance, Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (GTCO Plc) has cut its banking service hours.

    The lender in a mail sent to its numerous customers recently notified them that the banks’ branches will now close by 4 pm instead of 5 ppm.

    The bank, which had pioneered the 8 am to 5 pm operating hours, had in the mail stated that effective from yesterday, Monday, March 21, 2022, notified customers that its branches will now close by 4 pm.

    “We would like to inform you that our branches will now open from 8 am to 4 pm, Monday to Friday, effective Monday, 21 March 2022. Our secure and convenient digital banking channels are always available to you,” the mail read.

    Also, staff working in a branch of a Tier 1 bank had noted that they had been told to switch off the generators by 4 pm prompt and that they were not allowed to remain in the banking hall past 4 pm unless there is power supply by the electricity company.

    “We were told that unless there is PHCN light, anyone still at the office after 4 pm is there on his or her own accord because the generators will be off by then.

    “This means that all the account balancing has to be done by then or it will be concluded by the next day. We are however always praying that there is light in the afternoon so that we can finish up,” the staff explained.

    A bank official in a Tier 2 bank who works in the head office said, due to the rising cost of diesel, the bank has limited the time that staff could stay at the office.

    “Although the official closing hours is by 5 pm, before now, people stay back till around 7 pm and even the staff bus doesn’t leave till around 6.30 pm.

    “But because the bank is trying to reduce cost, we have been mandated to leave the office by 5 pm prompt. Everyone has to leave. Even the staff bus leaves by 5 pm now. That way the bank can reduce fuel consumption,” he said.

    The staff added that it is likely that the bank is looking at alternative energy sources such as solar.

    Meanwhile, the head, of Financial Institutions Ratings at Agusto&Co, Mr Ayokunle Olubunmi, noted that more banks will be looking at the option of solar-powered operations as they strive to reduce the impact of the soaring diesel cost on their operations.

    “What banks are trying to do is show they can reduce the impact to the barest minimum. But despite that, the high cost of diesel is still going to have an impact and what the banks are trying to do is to reduce it.

    What has happened over the last three years is that most banks are trying to transitions into alternative power supplies. Before now most banks rely solely on PHCN or diesel but banks are now bringing in solar panels into the mix, with this we are going to see more banks pushing that,” he pointed out.

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