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Published On: Wed, Jul 30th, 2014

Cooperate slavery in Nigerian commercial banks

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By Mahmud Jika

Over dependency by most of Nigerian commercial Banks on contract staffs as its work force is gradually posing a threat not only to bank customers but to the entire Banking system in general.

As many of their contract marketing staffs are now engaged on shady integrity issues that involves forgeries of Identification cards, letter headed papers of various organisations for opening of salary accounts and cash suppression cases of their customers, following of allegations of under payment, unstable monthly payments and the introduction of’ pay you selves’ scheme introduced by their employers.

The services of these contract staffs were been engaged through a third party consultancy firms whom exploits them with an entitled scheme of a commission based pay. ‘subject to the achievement of a set target of 90%-100% before the employee earns his basic monthly pay of N40,000, while those that unable to achieve the set target earns N0.00 for that month.

The set target includes a minimum of 80-90 individual accounts, comprises salary accounts, normal savings, and currents current accounts, with a minimum of N5000 opening balance on each. Or a minimum of 50 business accounts (co-operate) with a closing balance of N 6000,000- N10,000,000 by the month end.

The notorious system is popularly known as the Direct sales Agent (DSAs), which is now a ramming sounds in many Nigerian consolidated commercial Banks, as a means of cheap labour and getting excellent required number of welcome in customers.

Dailytrust exclusively gain access into the largely unreported mode of operation and welfare being of these contract staffs. An inside into a letter of employment gave to one of a contract staff by a onsultancy firm seconded him to a new generation Bank, revealed that the consultancy firm has a reserve right to terminate the employment without given any reason, and that the employee is entitle to only 10 days off as his annual leave, after a 12 month routine.

It further stated that any absent from work as a result of illness exceeding 10 days the consultancy firm will terminate the employment and replace him with another person. The contract employment is subject to a successful completion of three months’ probation period, while training and orientation is on the market field. The scheme has no provision of any mandatory registration/pension contribution as required by Nigerian pension law. also National health Insurance cover is not part of it.

It read in parts, employee is entitle to a commission based pay and additional commission on additional sales as enumerated below: Base pay of N40,000 broken down into N25,000 and N15,000 transport allowances, which subject to the achievement of 75% of the target. N40,000 subject to the achievement of 95% -100% of the target. N15000 is subject to the achievement of 75% of the target, while N0.000 is less than 74% of the target. Commision is based on value in the accounts, while base pay is on volume.

A direct sales Agent, in one of the performing consolidated Bank who pleaded anonymity said he has been on the system for over a three and half years with no hope of becoming a perminate staff. He describe the scheme as a co-operate slavery happening for years under the watchful eyes of financial regulatory institutions such as Central Banks of Nigeria.

He said a DSA may work over a month without earning a single kobo, the reason is simple, he didn’t met the target ,even if is half way, no pay for you. No one cares to know how you take come work, if you didn’t show up for a day, branch manager will quarry you.

When asked what kept him so long in the system, without three month’s pay, he said he is only relaying on the opening balance his customers gave for account opening, which he uses for his transportation and other minor needs, he pays in later when another customer bring in, another opening balance, that how will continues until miracle came-down when my bank pay me my salary, then i will forward all the pending accounts opening to the Bank system.

Another DSA with another Bank testifies that the issue is true, they didn’t cares about us, our wellbeing and welfare’s, what they only cares is that you must come to work by 7;30 am, you must look co-operate, look smith and bring sale’s to the bank. Most of us may work for the whole year and can’t buy a single suite of N15,000, because we have no stable salary and a lot of pressure from the customer’s we suppressed their cash and those we borrowed from them, which we used for transportation and other needs, but these banks are busy celebrating billions of Naira as their profits and capital base. We are finding it very difficult to plan our future, in these kind of situation. Many of our colleagues now buys cars using customers money through cash suppression method.

An ex- female colleague in one of our branches in the north-east suppressed N4.5 million naira belonging to her three customers, after she spend five solid years as a DSAs with no future to write home about, she established her- self with the cash secretly, when the issue came out the bank terminated her employment and asked the customers to go and settle with her because the transaction didn’t happened within bank vicinity. Now she is remitting it from the profit is getting on her business.

That why many us invoke many dubious technics to keep us moving even though is risky. Among which is round tripping of accounts, persuading a customer to operates four different account in a single bank, because any account we brought in can only count for us for one month .Some of us forged identification cards, letter heading papers of different organisations and snapped photos of different people as passports, which we uses in opening fake salary accounts, just to enable us achieve the number of accounts required us to meet in a month. Technically we are helping them to have a bulk of dormancy accounts, with no value to enable us get our pay.

These revelation is coming in, just less than a month 13 of consolidated Nigerian commercial banks were enlisted among 1000 global banking rating.

When contacted a branch manager in one of the top five Nigerian banks, who pleaded anonymity, said the over-dependency on contract staffs has a lot of side effects than just a cheap labour aspect banks policy makers are relaying on.

In my branch, I have 25 staffs under me, but unfortunately only three of us are core banking staffs.my self, head of operations and one marketer who is assisting the DSAs on the account initiations. The head of operations also serves as a cash officer, while am a full time marketer. From the tellers, bulk tellers, cleaners, security, despatch, customer cares, drivers and DSAs are all contract staffs of the bank. The most unfortunate aspect of it none of them is earning a reasonable amount compared to the services they are rendering. The highest earn among them is the teller who earned N42,000 in a month, some are earning as low as N9,000 in a month, which is very dangerous by exposing them to customers money while they are earning almost nothing .He described the scheme as one way traffic, as many DSAs are coming in, many are dumping the system, that why internal cases of cash suppression and un- reconcile figures are so rampant in both marketers and operations respectively.

Investigations revealed that with the exception of First City Monument Bank which pays it’s DSAs a fixed N25,000 as bicycle allowances and internal mechanism of carhopping them into the main banking stream strictly on performance, the remaining banks only using use and dump policy. Some banks has introduced’ pay as you go’ plan for their DSAs, any saving account with N5000 a DSA brought in to the bank system he earns N500 as his work pay, if he is able to bring in 20 accounts in a month his month end basic is N10,000 no more no less. How the bank calculates the commission on the exceeding performance for the DSAs remain mirage as some are said is 0.0025.

 

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