In April, BizNews founder Alec Hogg caught up with Capitec’s CEO Gerrie Fourie to discuss the company’s financial results for the year to end February. With the lockdown in full effect, Fourie shared that the bank was transforming 800 of its branches into call centres and that 14,000 staff were being put onto shifts at different “stores” as part of efforts to deal with the impact of Covid-19 on its employees and customers. This week, the lender reported a reported a 78% plunge in headline profit but its client numbers grew. In addition, the bank is still committed to its R800m new headquarters in Techno Park, just outside Stellenbosch, and plans to add about 200 staff after limiting recruitment earlier this year. This is good news for job seekers given the latest unemployment figures, which show that the extended lockdown hindered many from looking for work. – Lindiwe Molekoa
Capitec wants to get the doors revolving at its new headquarters
By Roxanne Henderson
(Bloomberg) — The completion of Capitec Bank Ltd.’s gleaming new headquarters should have been a reason to celebrate. Instead, the outbreak of Covid-19 meant the lender had to send staff home even before some of them had even moved in.
“It’s a little bit sad,” Chief Executive Officer Gerrie Fourie said by phone from the premises near Stellenbosch, east of Cape Town. “The first 500 were in and then we had to get everyone out.”
South Africa introduced a strict, nationwide lockdown on March 27 to contain the spread of the coronavirus and shuttered almost all business activity, except for essential services. Despite being counted among the sectors allowed to continue operating, banks had most staff working remotely.
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Although restrictions have since been eased to the lowest alert level, only about 200 people, or 10% of the building’s capacity, work from the office daily.
“We believe strongly that we need to have this building for culture, team work and motivation, especially for new employees,” Fourie said. “I think that’s going to be one of the challenges.”
While Capitec is committed to its 800 million rand ($47.6 million) building, whose shape mirrors the company logo, it’s rethinking the use of other space such as call centers, Fourie said. The bank, which reported a profit slump of 78% for the six months through August, plans to add about 200 staff after limiting recruitment to essential areas earlier this year.