Barclays officially re-brands to Absa

Barclays Bank Kenya has completed its transition into Absa Bank Kenya PLC following its capture of requisite regulatory approval from the pair of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and the Capital Markets Authority (CMA).

The receipt of the regulatory approvals have further seen Barclays Life Assurance Kenya Limited change over to Absa Life Assurance Kenya Limited with the raft of changes being matched up to the lender’s 12 other markets across the continent.

“Today we begin a new chapter as Absa Kenya, adopting our new name and exciting brand while retaining our indelible commitment to Kenya and its people. This is a major milestone for our business, said Absa Bank Kenya PLC Managing Director Jeremy Awori.

The changeover in brand marks the culmination of a near four year journey for the lender whose existence in Kenya breaches the century mark.

In March 2016, Barclays PLC (United Kingdom) first announced its ownership reduction in Barclays Africa Group Limited (now Absa Group Limited) from 62.3 percent to a minority hold over time in line with tighter home regulations which followed the 2008 financial crisis.

Barclays trimmed its stake in the Group to 14.9 percent in December 2017 prompting the name change at continental level in July 2018 and the sequential transition in the naming of the lender’s subsidiaries.

“More than a name change, this is a milestone that brings us closer to realising our ambition as a leading African bank to support growth and development on the continent and beyond. We are now united under a single brand in 12 countries in Africa,” added Absa Group Chief Executive Daniel Mminele.

The Absa Group holds a 68.5 percent shareholding in Absa Bank Kenya PLC with the remaining stake being held by local individual and institutional investors.

Absa Bank Kenya has continued to make considerable investments to the switch over with transition costs hitting Ksh.910 million in September 2019 with the lender upgrading to advanced systems.

In January, the bank revealed its improved product offering to customers to include vertical debit and credit cards.

While the heavy capital expenditure has masked the lender’s earnings, the bank’s balance sheet has remained strengthened with Absa Kenya booking a 14 percent growth in normalized profits to Ksh.6.2 billion to September on the back of higher interest and non-funded income (NFI) growth.

The bank’s offering to customers are expected to remain as they were with the lender urging clients to stay vigilant over the potential for fraud in the aftermath to the switch.

“Customers are urged to the particularly vigilant during this time, as fraudsters are always looking for opportunities to obtain important personal information. The bank will not be asking customers for any information regarding their accounts,” Absa Kenya noted in a statement.