BARCLAYS Africa Group Limited has officially changed its name to Absa Group Limited but maintained that it will only rename its Barclays Bank subsidiaries in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia within the next two years, subject to regulatory approvals.
Briefing journalists during a round-table meeting yesterday, Barclays Bank Zambia managing director Mizinga Melu noted that the name change signalled “the start of a new era for the Group as a standalone African banking Group with deep roots on the continent and more than 100 years of experience in Africa’s banking sector.”
“Today (Wednesday) marks a very significant era in our history of the bank. 11 July is the day when we change our name at Group level from Barclays Africa Group Limited to Absa Group Limited. So, as at this morning (yesterday) at the stock exchange, we have changed to Absa Group Limited. We have been Barclays for a while now but this is time when Barclays has de-consolidated (reduced its shareholding to 14.9 per cent) from Africa and now we are Absa. What do we really mean by that? It means going forward our brand has changed at Group level. So, today we are launching a new brand and that brand is called Absa and we’ll be known as Absa Africa Limited,” Melu said at Barclays Bank Zambia head office in Lusaka.
She, however, emphasised that the name of the bank in Zambia has not changed yet.
“Having said that, here in Zambia we are not changing now – we continue to use the name Barclays and we have up to 2020 for us to continue using this name. So, the change is at Group level and you’ll begin seeing it across the continent. Here in Zambia we continue to use the name Barclays and our products and services remain the same under the umbrella of Barclays. We can’t change yet because there are so many approvals that we still need to get, hence us continuing with this name up to 2020,” she noted, adding that the regulators in Zambia have been extremely supportive.
Asked how Barclays Bank Zambia clients have responded to the bank’s intention to change its name, Melu pointed out that the process of rebranding was all-encompassing.
“This is a journey that has been going on for the last two years now and it’s a journey that we have carried our customers along, carried the press along, carried our regulators along [and] carried the community along. So, the change is not an event – it will be a journey and it has been a journey….” Melu explained.
And Barclays Bank Zambia marketing and communications manager Banji Lufungulo said: “What we are doing is that starting tomorrow (today), we’ll start an awareness campaign. This awareness campaign will be in the print media, on radio…. We also realise that we have quite a number of customers in outlying areas and so, we’ll be on local community radio stations so that we can be able to speak to many of our clients….”
Absa Group announced a new growth strategy in March; prioritising cultural transformation, restoring the Group’s leadership position in core business areas and developing pioneering propositions for customers and clients.