Digital trends see banks restructuring amid high unemployment rates

Digital trends see banks restructuring amid high unemployment rates

- South Africans are facing bleak economic times, with high unemployment and growth stagnating

- The country's banks are facing the prospect of strikes in the sector, with unions warning of shutdown if jobs are not protected

- With the industry restructuring as digital banking becomes more popular, banks are changing the way they do business in SA

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SASBO, the union in the banking sector, is threatening a major strike unless a solution is found to protect 10 000 jobs. reported that the unemployment rates have reached a ten-year high, reaching a staggering 29%.

The loss of employment opportunities for thousands would be a devastating blow to an already-crippled economy, but banks are refuting the number of potential lay-offs.

Competition from 'branchless' digital banks are forcing their more traditional counterparts to rethink how they do business. Many have reduced floor space, with operations being streamlined.

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READ ALSO: StatsSA reveals that unemployment has hit 29%, worst in a decade

SASBO secretary-general Joe Kokela is adamant that the banks knew years ago that this shift was coming, with the union up in arms over looming retrenchments.

However, banks are insisting that they are playing ball with the union. Standard Bank, which will be closing 91 branches, has denied retrenching 6 000 affected employees which they claim will be absorbed into other positions.

Nedbank has been in consultation with SASBO for months, saying that fewer workers will be affected. The bank denies claims that they will be retrenching 1 500 people, saying that only around 50 people still need placement.

eNCA reports that this comes at a time where the economy has been reverted to junk status by numerous ratings agencies, and employment opportunities are diminished.

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