An Ikeja High Court recently ordered UBA to refund one Mr. Anyanwu a sum of about N1.4m in back salaries and entitlements after the latter resigned from the bank. The bank was also ordered to pay the money inclusive of interest of 15% from 2006.
Mr. Anyawu resigned from the bank in 2006 after he was harassed by the bank for a loan which he facilitated for a customer that went bad. The loan amounting to N4m went bad after the customer fell Ill and was unable to pay the bank back. As such, the bank sought to recover the money from Mr. Anyanwu by converting the loan to a personal loan against him and deducting it from his salary monthly. He refused, resigned and took the bank to court and won after 4years of legal battle.
Whilst this is a case of justice delayed considering the draconian nature of the banks policy, it’s a victory for bank employees and employees all over the country. His case is not uncommon and still happens to date. Our willingness to accept wrongs and injustice as norms is baffling. Employees are so stuck to the fear of loosing their pay cheque, they don’t even know how to defend themselves even when their rights are being trampled upon.
It’s no news that some of our beautiful ladies have been turned into “commercial sex marketers” just so they can meet their targets and earn their “fat” salaries. A friend who used to work for a popular bank in Lagos recently told me how he dreaded the weekly Monday meetings. At the meetings all they are asked was how much they had in their “cabal”? A term for how much customers undrawn deposits they have within their control. Stories of pregnant women working till the day they go into labour abound. In fact it’s now an accepted practice within the industry.
It’s a sorry state of affairs that banks have now moved from doing the above to now holding staffs responsible for loans going bad, even though the process of obtaining such loans are well laid out and not hinged on one person. Banks have a right to be punitive especially when a staff has violated the company rules and in the case made the bank loose money. However, it most be done equitably and without trampling on people’s rights.
I suspect soon the banks will put out new human resources guidelines (in employment letters) that may allow the banks seek recourse for loans gone bad from the loan officers. This is even more so as their lawyers must have been aware of this case and thought that the chances of the banks winning were bright. So rather than learn from this in a way as not to repeat it, expect them to have learnt from this in ways as to ensure they win next time. For now justice has prevailed and will surely do when they try again. But let’s pray when it comes, it’s not delayed.