The Barclays Africa group Limited announced its impending name change to Absa group Limited, after shareholding of the UK based parent company and owner of the brand name – Barclays Plc reduced its ownership in the Africa operations to 14.9%. the Bankers Journal met with Webster Malido (Inset), the Head of Communications, Rest of Africa, Barclays Africa to discuss the change in name. Below is what he said
QN How sure are you that the change in name will not erode the banks market share?
A During the process of arriving at the new future brand, we carried out customer baseline surveys, and so this new brand we are going to go with is not completely unknown. There is already some level of awareness through some of the properties that we own like the ABSA premiership league. In the past we have been associated with Rugby in South Africa. The Absa brand has had visibility in some of our markets in Africa through this past sponsorship
QN Will the change in brand affect technical expertise?
A Our businesses all over Africa are run mostly by local staff. For instance, Barclays Uganda is run largely by Ugandans. These are the same people that will con
tinue to run our business here (Uganda). We may change our name in the future but the same expertise will remain and continually improve. We have the benefit of being an African operation so we have the opportunity to deploy our skills and transfer expertise anywhere in the group.
QN What is your schedule for rolling out the change in brand name?
A We have until June 2020 to transition. Our group CEO said it in March this year that it will be a carefully managed process. We will do it at the right time. We will do it when the time is right in each market where we operate.
We will do it only after we secure regulatory approval in each country. The ATM cards will have an additional two years. You know that the expiry date for cards differs, and so the additional two years will cater for that requirement. We are looking at re-designing and re-engineering some of our technology systems and digital platforms.
The continent starting with South Africa; the entire continent will be using the Absa name before June 2020.
“The bank and its services are going to stay although the name will change. The people and the products are going to remain the same under a different name. If last year is any indication, it is a very positive sign that 2018 will be better. There are various sectors that are growing in the country that present new opportunities,” Jha said.
Technology, corporate and investment banking to double market share
In a statement, Maria Ramos the Barclays Africa Group CEO said that the groups overriding goal is to double its market share of African banking revenues to 12%
by focusing on strategic growth sectors in the countries where the bank operates.
Ramos noted that the banks income increased 1% to R72.9b (about sh22.4 trillion) in 2017 and is on course to do better in 2018 as the group expands its corporate and investment banking unit with offices set to open in London and later in New York, trading as Absa Securities.
“This is an exciting time for us. We will work hard to deliver on our new strategy and to build our reputation as a bold, trusted, innovative and customer-focused brand,” Ramos said.
Barclays Africa group is building a scalable, digitally led business, passionate about innovation, Ramos said.
Peter Matlare, the Barclays Africa Group deputy CEO noted that the rebrand will be rolled out in a way that considers dynamics in each country where the Bank has presence.
He noted that extensive research has been undertaken internally and externally, in a process that included more than 130,000 conversations with employees and stakeholders about the brand and strategy of the Group.
As the Barclays Africa Group prepares to ring changes, Jha pointed out that the banks local operation is currently deploying technology and new digital capabilities to reduce its costs of operation and improve the efficiency of its branch network.