Barclays set to double growth in five years as bank rebrands to Absa

BY: Kester Aburam Korankye
Mrs Patience Akyianu
Mrs Patience Akyianu

The Managing Director of Barclays Ghana, Mrs Patience Akyianu, has reiterated the banks ambition and strategy to double its share of banking revenues in the next five years as it rebrands to Absa Group Ltd by 2020.

“We are re-setting our business with a bold, new growth strategy that leverages our existing footprint and market insights. The new identity is further evidence of the scale of the transformation and change in our business – a new brand for a new banking group, “she said.

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Speaking in an interview with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS in Accra last yesterday, Mrs Akyianu said, “This strategy is centered on one goal, three priorities, three enabling capabilities and one measure of success so our goal as Barclays Africa is to become the biggest African banking group with a proud African heritage rooted in Africa but with global reach”.

Mrs Akyianu explained that the bank would be focusing on some three priorities which include, building a thriving organisation, restoring leadership in the bank’s core businesses and building pioneering new propositions to increase its market share.

“This priorities will be on the back of three enabling capabilities and they are to build a scalable and digitally led organisation to help shape our society and thirdly to do things differently so we will embraced the cultural transformation in which we will be more commercially minded and will unleash the entrepreneurial zeal in our organisation to grow our business so the key measure of success will be growth and the ambition is to double growth in the next five years”, she said.

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Extensive consultation

She explained that the group undertook extensive research internally and externally, conferring with about 130,000 employees and stakeholders of the bank about the brand and strategy of the group before arriving at the decision.

“Let me assure you that our group in arriving to this decision to change the brand to Absa, engaged extensively, indeed about 130,000 stakeholders including customers were either interviewed or consulted so we didn’t take this decision lightly at all and we will continue to exercises the greatest care during this transition, she said.

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Rebranding journey

Barclays Africa operates in 12 African countries. The rebrand comes after Barclays decided in 2016 to divest its African operations after 11 years on the continent. The London bank’s stake has been reduced from a majority stake to 14.9 per cent. It is set to contribute £765m ($1.05bn) to fund investments required for it to separate from the group.

The news comes as Barclays Africa reported group earnings rose four per cent year-on-year to $1.3bn in 2017. The bank aims to expand its operations to capture at least 12 per cent of Africa’s banking market share.

“Our overriding goal is to become a banking group of which Africa can be proud, a forward-looking African business that recognises our African heritage, rooted in Africa, with global reach. We have a clear and undiluted ambition to double our market share of African banking revenues to 12 per cent.” It is a bold plan for growth,” she said.

History, then and now

Amalgamated Banks of South Africa Limited (Absa) was formed in 1991 through the merger of UBS Holdings, the Allied and Volkskas Groups.

The following year, Absa broadened its asset base by acquiring full shareholding of the Bankorp Group – which included TrustBank, Senbank and Bankfin. Five years later in 1997, Amalgamated Banks of South Africa Limited changed its name to Absa Group Limited and the United, Volkskas, Allied and TrustBank brands were later in 1998 consolidated into a single brand with Absa adopting a new corporate identity.

It was in 2005 that the UK’s Barclays Bank entered into a relationship with the South African bank purchasing, a 56.4 per cent stake in Absa.

By July 2013, Barclays Bank PLC shares in Absa jumped to 62.3% when it acquired the entire issued share capital of Barclays Africa Limited and issued 129,540,636 Consideration Shares to Barclays Africa Group Holdings Limited – a wholly owned subsidiary of Barclays.

A month later, Absa Group Limited changed its name to Barclays Africa Group. — GB Limited.