Ghana's First Atlantic Bank Is Said to Cut Jobs After Merger

(Bloomberg) -- Ghanaian lender First Atlantic Bank Ltd. plans to cut almost 11 percent of its workforce to avoid duplication of roles following its takeover of Energy Commercial Bank Ltd., according to people impacted by the move.

The Accra-based institution informed about 100 of its 950 combined employees that their jobs will be made redundant from Friday and that they will each get a severance package equal to one-month salary for every year worked, said the people, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid possible recriminations. The staff were also told at a meeting on April 30 that they will get 20 percent off any outstanding loans, the people said.

Jonas Safo Adu, the head of human resources at First Atlantic Bank, declined to comment when reached by mobile phone on Thursday. First Atlantic’s first-quarter capital adequacy ratio rose to 30 percent following the closure of the deal, from 26 percent at the end of March last year, it said in a statement. Non-performing loans doubled to 24 percent.

The lenders began merger talks in December to meet the regulator’s new minimum capital requirements after an initial public offering by Energy Commercial Bank failed -- attracting offers of less than a fifth of the 340 million cedis ($66 million) it had sought. Merger documents prepared for the Bank of Ghana said all staff would be retained for the first two years after the deal, the people said.

Osei Gyasi, the head of banking supervision at the central bank, didn’t answer calls to his mobile phone on Thursday.

Offer Rejected

Some of the affected employees, most of who are from Energy Commercial, are preparing to approach the country’s National Labour Commission this week to argue that they weren’t given enough notice and that severance payments aren’t adequate, the people said.

“The bank has violated our rights by not giving us at least three months’ notice ahead of the termination of our appointment and also failing to negotiate our severance package with us,” a group calling itself Concerned Staff of Atlantic Bank said in an email. The group said it is rejecting the severance package offered by the lender.

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