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Sagicor Bank cuts staff after technology upgrade

Published:Friday | April 8, 2016 | 4:00 AM
Richard Byles, President and CEO of Sagicor Group Jamaica.

Sagicor Bank cuts staff after technology upgrade

Tameka Gordon

Business Reporter

Sagicor Bank Jamaica cut 20 job positions at the end of March, resulting from the implementation of its new state-of-the-art banking platform.

Staff were said to be aware months before that the cuts were pending.

"Everybody knew about it from the end of last year, but we have delayed implementing it until we were absolutely sure that the system was fully operational," Sagicor Group President and CEO Richard Byles told the Financial Gleaner.

Following the acquisition of RBC Royal Bank Jamaica, Sagicor Bank purchased the new banking platform, developed by Swiss company Temenos and branded NETteller, to merge the client base of both entities.

Byles said the job cuts, though regrettable, were the result of the efficiencies realised by the bank under NETteller.

"It has to do with the new system, which we put in last August and which we have been fine-tuning," he said.

Sagicor Group Vice-President of Human Resources Karl Williams said the cuts were mostly duplicated positions that arose out of the merging of the banking platforms.

He signalled that more jobs might be cut, but said the bank does not expect any further separations of this magnitude.

"There may be a few over the course of the year as we build out our client experience some more, (but) nothing as significant as what we are now doing," he said.

The HR manager said the bank sought to place some of the separated bank employees elsewhere within the group as part of the restructuring, but did not say how many were absorbed.

Alongside banking, the financial conglomerate operates a life insurance company as its flagship business, and is also into property services, fund management and investment. Sagicor Life is Jamaica's top insurance company while, post-merger, Sagicor Bank is the third largest in a market of six commercial banks.

"We searched throughout the group to see if there were other positions that persons can be transferred to," said Williams.

"We also called around to our colleagues in the banking industry, in some instances, to find out if they need anybody and, if so, we would refer some persons," he said.

Sagicor spent $8 million to develop NETteller. Alongside regular banking functions, the platform allows account holders to buy foreign exchange online and transfer funds to accounts overseas. It also features person-to-person transfers online, as well as transfers to the other five commercial banking networks operating in Jamaica.

At the time of NETteller's implementation, the bank said there were 14,500 active users of the online platform, which it planned to double within a year.