Barclays says it rebranding process on course

BARCLAYS Africa Group says its-rebranding process is on course, especially that the Group’s shareholders have no objections to the strategy.

In early March this year, Barclays Africa Group chief executive officer Mario Ramos outlined the Group’s growth strategy in a tele-conference from South Africa.

Among those growth strategies she talked about included the Group’s clear ambition to double its market share to 12 per cent of African banking revenues, restore market-leading position in core business areas, sustainable growth to be driven by a transformative culture and re-branding.

Barclays Bank Zambia managing director Mizinga Melu emphasised then that the pending re-naming of Barclays Africa Group Limited to Absa Group Limited did not mean the bank would pull out of Zambia.

“The first thing to note is that Barclays has been our major shareholder for over 100 years now. But as at today, Barclays has reduced its shareholding to 14.9 per cent and they are now minority shareholders. What that effectively means is that as Barclays, as we are known now, they are not majority shareholders but just minority shareholders. As we announce this, it’s important to note that we’ll be changing our name across the continent – we’ll have one name and one brand and that brand will be called Absa,” explained Melu in March.

Meanwhile, during an interactive meeting with journalists in Lusaka yesterday, Barclays Africa Group head of corporate communications Songezo Zibi highlighted that the re-branding process was progressing well.

He also hinted on what would be Absa Group Limited’s strategy for growth.

“We are going to acquire other businesses and when I say other businesses, that does not mean another bank. It can be a financial institution. For example, in South Africa we’ve a business called Instant Life; we bought that business – it is a life insurance business. In other instances, we’ll partner with businesses in order to expand…We will not just look at the [African] countries in which we are but we will look at other countries too in order to drive growth. But at the centre of all that is [high-quality] customer service,” Zibi said.

He added that in as far as regulatory approvals for re-branding were concerned, “shareholders are not a problem”.

“The regulators have bought into the idea that this [re-branding] has to happen,” noted Zibi, adding that central banks were emphatic that the re-branding process should not hurt Barclays Africa Group’s customers in any way.

The re-branding has to be undertaken between now and 2020.

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