Staff of Enterprise Bank Nigeria kick against Salary Cuts

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MD, Enterprise Bank,   Ahmed Kuru


By Festus Akanbi
A showdown appears imminent between staff of Enterprise Bank Limited (formerly Spring Bank Plc) and the executive management of the bank as tempers rise over a 50 percent cut in front-office staff salaries at a time when members of the executive were alleged to have increased their own pay by 100 percent.

However, managing director of the bank, Mr. Ahmed Kuru has strongly denied that they (the executive management) enjoyed a 100 percent salary increase, explaining that such could only have been done with the approval of the shareholders of the bank, including the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, and Central Bank of Nigeria.
He described the rumours being peddled by aggrieved staff as false and baseless, and was peddled to depict the executive management in a negative light.
He could not, however, confirm the salary cut for front-office staff when THISDAY spoke with him last week but promised to get back on the issue.
Sources disclosed that trouble started when the management of the bank decided to set targets for front-office staff, who normally interface with customers of the bank, a development which the aggrieved staff said signposts the return of the era of unrealistic targets in the nation's banking industry.
Sources said that because of the unrealistic nature of the targets and slowdown in economic activities, quite a number of staff could not meet their budgets, resulting in a 50 percent salary cut for the months of December and January for those in the head office and all the branches of the bank nationwide.
According to the criteria adopted, any staff that did not meet 50 percent of his/her budget automatically lost 50 percent of their salaries, leaving some staff of the bank with virtually nothing at the end of the month by the time all other deductions for loans and mortgages were factored in.
The only exception, according to sources, were the back-office staff who work in departments like human resources, corporate affairs/communications, corporate services and information technology, among others.
The staff have also raised eyebrows over the decision by the executive management of the bank to raise their own salaries when other members of staff were being punished for failure to bring more business to the bank.
According to a source, some staff of the bank described it as double standards for the managing director, Mr. Ahmed Kuru and his colleagues to raise their salaries, given the fact that as directors of the organisation, the buck stops with them when the bank does well or flounders.
The staff wondered what had informed the alleged extravagant lifestyles of the directors when the institution could not meet the targets set for the period.
For instance, despite the lull in business, there were speculations that the managing director of the bank, had effective December 2011, enjoyed a 100 percent salary increase in his annual salary from N35 million to N70 million. 
The executive directors, who enjoyed the same percentage hike had their salaries doubled from N25 million to N50 million. In addition, the executive directors, who were entitled to one car each, got an extra car each last December to add to their fleet of cars.
The executive directors of Enterprise Bank are Mrs. Louisa Olaloku (Risk Management), Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe (Lagos and South), and Mr. Aminu Ismail (Services), Mr. Niyi Adebayo (Corporate and Investment Banking), and Mr. Audu Kazir (Abuja and North).
A staff of the bank, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the problem was compounded by rising tensions among the staff over the alleged favouritism of some of the new staff brought in by the present administration.
According to him, “Some of these new hands are paid higher salaries despite the fact that they are not as productive as some of the old staff.
“It is a serious issue because some of the old staff who we know as good hands are being sidelined and we suspect the management is only looking for excuses to ease them out of the system.”
Also, a text passed round by staff and which was sent to THISDAY read, “Dear Colleagues, you may have noticed that another round of monkey dey work baboon dey chop has started in Enterprise Bank.
“Every month they pay you whatever percentage of your entitlement they deem fit while paying themselves 100% of their recently increased jumbo package. They buy themselves state of the art automobiles yet you must suffer because according to them the bank is not doing well.
“Some of your best hands are being rendered idle because they must bring in their own people who they employ at over bloated levels.
“Dear Colleagues in the near future we shall give u more details of happenings in this "animal farm" called EBL. For now rise up. Think. Remember, the man dies who keep silent in the face of tyranny. By the way what happened to our severance pay.”
But the managing director of the bank, in his response to THISDAY enquiries, stated that there was no way the front-office staff were not paid what he called their “base” salaries whether they met their targets or not.
He explained, however, that banking industry has a performance-driven salary structure for front-office staff.
Kuru explained that one of the challenges Enterprise Bank has is how to evaluate back-office staff which comprise almost 70 percent of the bank's operational work force.

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