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Job losses hit the banking industry

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Job losses hit the banking industry

Employment levels in the banking industry declined slightly from 2018 to 2019 owing to the rationalization of banking operations.

According to the Banking Supervision Report availed by the Bank of Botswana (BoB) recently, the number of people directly employed by the banking sector decreased from 5, 270 to 5, 172 between 2018 and 2019.

This means at least 98 people – or 1.9 percent of the workforce – left the banking world last year either voluntarily or pushed through the dreaded exit door.

The reduction in employment levels is reported across five banks.

According to BoB’s report, the main reason behind the cull was the rationalization of operations, including increased automation and the use of digital channels.

Other contributing factors are staff resignations and retirements for respective banks.

However, while employment levels were down overall, the report notes there was an increase with respect to seven banks.

It was observed that the staff complement in small banks increased by 9.2 percent, from 500 in 2018 to 546 in 2019 while for larger banks the workforce declined by 2.2 percent, from 4, 226 to 4, 134.

Statutory banks – outfits established through an act of parliament, namely Botswana Savings, BBS Limited and National Development Bank – also recorded a drop in employees, from 544 to 492.

Expatriate representation remained virtually unchanged, with a decrease from 60 to 59.

The figures indicate that Absa is the largest employer in the banking sector, currently employing 1, 160, followed by First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) with a staff compliment of 1, 400.

The Banking Supervision Report also covers licencing and regulation of Bureau de Changes in the country.

During the past year, the central bank says it received seven inquiries for a banking licence application, none of which materialised.

BoB also received an application for a banking licence, which it says was subsequently withdrawn.

With regards to the supervision of the Bureau de Changes, the central bank conducted Anti-money Laundering/Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) on-site examinations of five Bureau de Changes.

It was found that only two were compliant with AML/CFT requirements.

For the three offending Bureau de Changes, it was discovered that their Money Laundering/Terrorism Financing (ML/TF) risk was high, while the risk mitigation measures were weak.

The trio, who were not named in the report, were fined and ordered to regularise all supervisory issues by the end of April 2020.

An on-site examination by the central bank was also conducted on a sixth Bureau de Change in response to its failure to submit statutory monthly returns.

It was observed that the business had breached most regulatory provisions and as a result was instructed to suspend operations for a period of six months effective 18 November 2019, within which it was to normalise the identified irregularities.

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