Banks brace for home loan sales staff retrenchments

Retrenchments are looming in the home loan departments of two of the four major banks, according to Business Report on Thursday.

Chief executive of First National Bank (FNB) Home Loans Jan Kleynhans confirmed that the bank was restructuring its sales department.

“At the moment we have just taken the first steps by advising [about] 90 people who may be affected. FNB Home Loans has nearly 1 000 employees.

“It is too early to say how many affected staff will ultimately leave FNB. Our first objective is to redeploy people into other positions in the wider banking group,” he said.

Absa declined to give details, but the deputy group chief executive Louis von Zeuner said Absa continued to focus on programmes that enhanced efficiencies and effectiveness by reducing duplication.

‘If we are lucky’
The looming cuts follow the slump in the residential property market, which resulted in a contraction in the number and value of home loans approved and granted.

This was highlighted last week by director of home loans at Standard Bank Funeka Ntombela who said the market was worth R350-billion in 2006/07 but “if we are lucky” would be worth R120-billion this year.

FNB in July confirmed its monthly volume of home loan applications had fallen to 10 000 from between 30 000 and 35 000 at the peak of the property boom in 2006.

Ntombela said Standard Bank continued to manage its costs but neither the group nor home loans was planning any retrenchments.

The managing executive of Nedbank Retail Secured Lending Keith Hutchinson said Nedbank viewed its staff as vital contributors to the bank’s success and remained focused on strengthening its relative competitive position.—Sapa

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