Absa Bank Kenya has completed its transition from Barclays Bank with the official changed of its stock ticker to Absa from BBK. The bank’s shares had been suspended from trading last week to allow for the name change.
The rebranding was necessitated by a decision in 2016 by the Barclays Bank Plc to reduce it’s shareholding in the Barclays Africa Group 14.9% which was the former parent company of Barclays Kenya.
Barclays Africa Group Ltd was formed when Absa a South African bank acquired the African operations of Barclays PLC in a share deal worth 1.3 billion pounds. This was after Barclays Bank PLC acquired a controlling stake in Absa 55.5 per cent back in 2005 and as such the share deal in 2013 increased their stake in the South African bank to 62.3 per cent. Under the deal Absa was renamed Barclays Africa Group and acquired 14.4 million customers across 10 countries in a fast growing continent. However, the Absa brand was retained in South Africa for retail banking. With the divestiture, Absa Group decided to rebrand all this African businesses in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia to Absa. Barclays Bank Kenya got approval to rebrand from shareholders in 2018.
With the rebrand, Absa Bank Kenya PLC new strategy is driven by four strategic priorities that include: Building a customer obsessed digitally enabled bank, strongly growing, diversifying and transforming retail and business banking, becoming a Force for Good in society and transforming into an inspirational, fun and vibrant place to work and lastly, building a powerhouse institutional Bank
As part of the change in the bank, they have upgraded their technology infrastructure which enabled them to introduce the first ever vertical cards in Kenya which come with additional security features and enhanced rewards for our customers. Additionally, the bank has revamped the Absa Mobile Banking app which will not only permits customers to pay bills, transact and buy airtime but will also enable them to use their fingerprint or facial recognition to unlock and gain access.
The bank plans to launch the Absa ChatBot, a virtual assistant that allows customers to get answers to frequently asked banking questions via WhatsApp. For the SME sector, the bank will launch the MySMETool that enables business owners to perform important functions like planning and cashflow management online.
The bank has also reviewed and repositioned some of its product offerings in order to give customers more value. This Includes, the Wezesha SME proposition to include unsecured loans of up to Ksh. 10 million, LPO financing and invoice discounting of up to Ksh. 50 million. It’s mortgage offering now includes, 100% financing, offering the lowest interest rate in the market at 11.75%, and a waiver on all legal fees for customers transferring their mortgages to Absa. A savings feature on Timiza with returns of up to 5% Interest.
Absa Bank Kenya PLC Managing Director Jeremy Awori, noted that the organisation has a solid strategy in place which is designed to deliver growth for the business by growing with its customers. He continued to say, “As I look into the future, I am filled with excitement and optimism. We will continue to execute this strategy in order to deliver great returns for our shareholders and play our rightful role in the Kenyan economy.”