Access Bank sacks 1,500 Intercontinental employees, shuts down branches

As a result of the completion of the acquisition of Intercontinental Bank Plc by Access Bank Plc, the bank on Friday terminated the employment of about 1, 500 employees of Intercontinental Bank.

Also, it was gathered that the bank shut down some branches of Intercontinental Bank nationwide. A visit by our correspondent to two of Intercontinental Bank’s branches in Ibafo Area and Ikeja confirmed the report. The branches were shut with only security personnel talking to customers. When asked why the bank did not open, one of the security personnel told our correspondent that the network was down and directed our correspondent to another Intercontinental branch.

It was learnt that the sacked employees were served with their disengagement letters on Friday.
When contacted, the Head, Corporate Affairs Department, Access Bank, Mr. Austin Edoja, confirmed that some branches had been shut down, but declined to give further comment, saying, “We will issue a release on that later.”
Our correspondent learnt that the action was taken by Access Bank with an eye to reducing overheads.
Access Bank and Intercontinental are expected to fuse into one entity by March 2012, and the closure of some branches of Intercontinental Bank is seen by analysts as a step in that direction.

Already, Intercontinental Bank branches are being rebranded in Access Bank colours, in preparation for the completion of the merger process in March, which will leave Access Bank as the surviving entity.
According to a statement by Access Bank to the Nigerian Stock Exchange in December, Intercontinental Bank Plc will cease to exist by March 2012.

The statement said the merger of business would be effected through a Scheme of Merger pursuant to Part XII of the Investments and Securities Act (No 29) of 2007.
Access Bank said it had earlier envisaged that the merger process would take between 18 and 24 months, adding that it was able to fast-track the process due to a number of factors ranging from the pre-merger integration process and the support of stakeholders.

The statement read, “We are pleased that this acceleration has been made possible by the success of our pre-merger integration processes leading to the achievement of key milestones well ahead of initial target dates.
“This has been assisted by the high level of cooperation and support received from all stakeholders to date. The acceleration has also been necessitated by the successful completion of change of control at the parent as well as subsidiary levels of Intercontinental Bank.”

“To ensure that the momentum is sustained and that value is preserved, Access Bank has decided to accelerate the merger timetable in line with the progress of integration. This is particularly important as some critical aspects of the integration exercise such as customer and product integration will only be completed subsequent to the legal merger of both banks,” it added.
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