Standard Bank will cut around 1,200 jobs and close 91 branches as part of efforts to digitise its retail and business bank, it said on Thursday. South African lenders, like others around the world, have been shuttering branches and trimming their headcount in an attempt to cut costs and adapt to customers’ growing preference to bank online or on their mobile phones. “This has not been an easy decision to make,” the bank, the country's largest by assets, said in a statement, adding it would implement a “comprehensive exit package” that goes beyond the legal requirements. Job cuts are sensitive in SA, where unemployment stands at 27%, and Standard Bank’s announcement comes on the back of plans to cut 526 jobs announced in November. Finance trade union Sasbo did not immediately respond to requests for comment. As well as sprawling branch and IT networks and large workforces — exceeding 50,000 at Standard Bank — South African lenders are grappling with a stagnant economy, where consumer...

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