HFC denies staff layoffs are due to acquisition plans

Business News of Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Source: citibusinessnews.com


MD of the HFC Bank, Robert Le Hunte

Management of HFC bank has dismissed reports that the laying off, of drivers of the bank follows its interest to acquire two local banks – Capital and UT Bank in Ghana.

The bank, last week, initiated moves to lay off all of its drivers and blamed the move over its growing cost of operations and increasing competition in the banking industry.

A letter sighted by Citi Business News from management to drivers stated that it had ‘taken a concrete decision to terminate your contract with HFC bank with effect from 1st August 2017 which also serves as your notice period. Your last working day with HFC Bank is therefore 31st August 2017.

In keeping with our decision you will be paid 2 months for each completed year of service. You will also be paid any outstanding leave commuted to cash’.

But the layoffs has however angered some of the staff who say the development is due to moves by the bank to acquire UT Bank and Capital Bank.

The workers also alleged that workers of the customer service wing of the bank will be laid off next and will be replaced by PR Firm Stratcom.

But reacting to the allegations the Managing Director of HFC Bank Mr Robert Le Hunte said the reports are untrue.

He told Citi Business News Editor Vivian Kai Lokko that ‘there is no truth in the allegations about arrangements between myself and UT Bank or Capital Bank’.

He added that ‘I can emphatically say to you that there is no truth to that statement, there is no truth in the allegations about arrangements between myself and UT Bank or Capital Bank. There is no deal by the trustees to acquire Capital Bank neither is there a deal by the trustees to acquire UT Bank.

Again for clarity sake we are in no conversation with Stratcom as our PR consultant or communication consultant. We are in no conversation with Stratcom or any service provider with regards to outsourcing of our customer service officers. There is entirely no truth to the matter that is being spread by mischievous people who are trying to work on the fears of people’.

Bank’s Performance

The Bank recently announced that it had been able to cover 65 percent of its Non Performing Loans(NPL) in the first half of 2017.

It also announced that it declared a profit after tax of 26.5 million cedis, representing an increase of 52 percent for the same period.

Speaking to journalists the MD of the bank Mr Robert Le Hunte assured that the bank has returned to improving its profitability after making a loss of 80 million dollars for two years.

“After 2 years of losses and GH¢150 million in provision, HFC Bank returned to profitability producing the best first half year results in the history of their 27 years of existence. Additionally, the Bank now boasts of having one of the highest cover ratio i.e. provision to non-performing loans of over 65% which provides the Bank with protection against future shocks going forward,” he observed.

Mr. Le Hunte attributed the good results to the hard work of the Staff and the focus on recoveries over the past two years.

Even though he admitted the work was far from over, Mr. Le Hunte also stated that the bank was now in a better position than 2 years ago when Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL) took over control.

“During the two year period, over US$30 million was spent on upgrading the Information Technology infrastructure and refurbishment of the branch network. In addition, investment was made in training and developing the Staff with the assistance of RFHL,” he said.

He announced that the board of the bank recently concluded a meeting, and approval was given to approach the shareholders of the Bank on two significant matters, to increase the level of capital of the Bank by 50 million cedis and secondly to change the name of the Bank to Republic Bank (Ghana) Limited in keeping with the new ownership structure.

“This new capital together with the BBB+ S&P rating of Republic Bank Limited makes the Bank one of the strongest in the industry and puts them in a better position to build on the strong foundation in the housing industry and the future prospects in the oil and gas industry,” he said.

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