Standard Chartered Plc has said it is halting business operations in seven Africa and Middle East countries due to a significantly low income it generates from the markets.
According to the bank’s statement on its website, the exit from Angola, Cameroon, Gambia, Jordan, Lebanon, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe is part of the move by the British banking and financial service group to improve profits as it gives attention to faster-growing markets, pointing out a possibility of selling the business in the regions.
In addition, it said it is also closing its retail banking operations in Tanzania and Ivory Coast but will continue corporate banking in both regions, adding that the group remains focused on serving its clients where it can make the most impact.
What the Standard Chartered is saying
The bank said the action became necessary for the bank to redirect resources within its Africa and the Middle East (“AME”) region to those areas where it can have the greatest scale and growth potential, in order to better support its clients.
- It said, “The Group has invested heavily in recent years in the AME region including fundamentally transforming its digital capabilities in its African markets. It has also been expanding its footprint to cover some of the largest and fastest growing economies, having recently opened its first branch in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and obtained preliminary approval for a banking license in the Arab Republic of Egypt.
- “The seven markets where there will be a full exit of operations are Angola, Cameroon, Gambia, Jordan, Lebanon, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe. In Tanzania and Cote d’Ivoire, the Consumer, Private and Business Banking businesses will be exited and the focus will turn solely to CCIB.”
- Bill Winters, Standard Chartered Group CEO said, “As we set out earlier in the year, we are sharpening our focus on the most significant opportunities for growth while also simplifying our business. We remain excited by a number of opportunities we see in the AME region, as illustrated by our new markets, but remain disciplined in our assessment of where we can deliver significantly improved shareholder returns.
- “Collectively, our actions will position the AME franchise for the next phase of growth after a very strong 2021 performance. We are grateful to our colleagues and partners in each of these impacted markets for their hard work and dedication and are committed to supporting them through this transition.”
What you should know
- Nairametrics earlier reported that Standard Chartered Plc stated it was closing down at least half of its Nigerian branches, in a major move, as it navigates towards digital banking earlier this year.
- In an official statement forwarded to Nairametrics and signed by Dayo Aderugbo, Head, Corporate Affairs, Brand and Marketing, in January of 2022, the bank has said that its decision to close down some of its branches will not in any way impact staff.
- This development is coming at a time when the banking industry in Nigeria is facing stiff competition from payment service providers especially the mobile telecommunications companies, who were recently granted operating licenses by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).