JOHANNESBURG – The future of traditional banking in South Africa is under the spotlight after Standard Bank announced that it is closing 91 branches.
The bank has confirmed that it will cut around 1,200 jobs as a part of efforts to digitize its retail and business bank.
South Africa is already battling an official unemployment rate of more than 27% and government is seeking to create jobs.
However, labour economist Andrew Levy says the impact of technology on banks and a change in the fundamental business structure has now led to jobs being lost.
“So the old bank as we know it with tellers behind counters and filling in forms, that’s gone.”
He also says South Africa’s economy is battling.
“We have two things happening at the same time, that’s why we’re having a job tsunami.”
Standard Bank says some employees may be incorporated in other areas of the business, but that a long road lies ahead regarding managers and affected bank employees.