The National Bank of Kenya’s (NBK) management has reassured its employees and shareholders that it will do everything in its power to ensure that they are not laid off in the planned merger with KCB Bank.
“We are waiting for the offer document. We will negotiate that employees of National Bank are taken care of. They are important to the bank but now it is too early to speculate,” NBK Chairman Mohamed Hassan told shareholders during the firm’s Annual General Meeting.
KCB offered to buy NBK through a share swap of one KCB share for every 10 of NBK, joining a wave of consolidation in Kenya’s banking industry. The acquisition is expected to be completed by October and if successful the merger will produce a bank whose collective balance sheet is expected to hit Ksh.1 trillion by 2022.
According to a news report by the Business Daily, KCB Bank hinted at reducing the combined entity’s workforce as part of its restructuring plans as soon as the acquisition is successful and this has left the fate of 1,356 NBK staff, operating across 80 outlets, in limbo.
“KCB proposes to maintain NBK as a stand-alone subsidiary of KCB Group post-acquisition … This transitional integration period is necessary to streamline human resources, systems, processes and procedures,” KCB said in a circular pertaining the transaction according to the Business Daily.
In the event that they do get terminated, the bank’s employees will hope for the intervention of the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) which on some occasions has directed companies to retain part of their workforce as a condition to have any merging proposals approved. The regulator recently commanded Commercial Bank of Africa and NIC Group to retain their respective staff for at least a year as a condition of having their merger request approved by the CAK.