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Recall in 2018, Barclays Africa Group Ltd with its British parent’s 100-year history on the continent began gradual exit which can be said to be complete with the Ghanaian change of name.
Within the same year, the lender ditched the name to revert to Absa Group as it severs ties with Barclays Plc after the London-based company sold down the controlling stake it bought in 2005. The Johannesburg-based company has already begun reorganizing its operations to further distance itself from the U.K. firm.
In a statement issued in 2018, Barclays Africa Group Limited officially renamed Absa Group Limited and started trading under its new name and new share code (ABG) on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The name change marks the start of a new era for the group as a standalone African group with a new brand design fit for a forward-looking business in a digital age.
No longer just a South African brand, the new Absa Group has a presence in 12 African countries and plans to open international offices in the UK and the US.
“Our new name and brand are an expression of our new purpose and strategic direction, which commits us to growing in Africa,” Absa Group Limited Chief Executive Officer, Maria Ramos said. “We are rallying around a shared sense of purpose and identity while celebrating our diversity,” she said.
Business Hilights recalls that Absa Group launched a new growth strategy on 1 March 2018 as it separates from Barclays PLC. The strategy prioritises cultural transformation as well as restoring leadership position in the group’s core business areas, and developing pioneering propositions for customers and clients. The new Absa brand design is an expression of the group’s new purpose, which is: ‘bringing your possibility to life’.
The rollout of the new Absa brand design in South Africa will be completed in 2019. The new Absa brand will also be rolled out to Absa Group’s Barclays banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia by mid-2020, subject to approvals including from regulators in those countries. Product and service functionality will not be affected by the rebranding programme.
In renaming Barclay’s banks across the continent, the group will be able to build on the pedigree of the Absa brand as a strong and stable bank. The brand has substantial equity – Absa was named the fourth most valuable brand (with an estimated value of R18.9 billion, or about US$1.5 billion) in South Africa by global brand valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance this year.
“We would like to build the brand as a bank that Africa’s people can be proud of, a truly independent African bank with global scalability,” said Ramos. “A single brand will enable us to unite behind a single identity, purpose and strategy; we are excited by the enormous opportunity we have to create a bank that Africa can be proud of,” Ramos added in 2018.
Accordingly, it is therefore adjudged as homecoming for Ghanaian business community as Barclays Bank Ghana Limited, on Monday, officially changed its name to ‘Absa Bank Ghana Limited’, a name of the global brand ‘Absa Group Limited’ to clearly represent its global vision and mission to serve customers better.
The Absa Bank, launched by the Vice President of the Republic, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, combines strong expertise, deep local insight and vast product knowledge to bring the best of banking to customers and clients.
It offers an integrated set of products and services including corporate and investment banking, business banking with solutions for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), and a three-tier personal banking proposition – personal, prestige and premier banking.
Mr Daniel Mminele, the Chief Executive Officer, Absa Group Limited, said the change of name allowed the bank to operate under one name in all its markets, with a clear commitment to Africa’s growth and development with one brand, purpose, vision and endless possibilities.
Backed by the bank’s asset base of more than $90 billion, he said, the bank sought to contribute to Ghana and Africa’s economic transformation with commitments such as investing in initiatives that supported financial inclusion for African citizens, and financing African exporters through trade finance.
Others were to contribute to infrastructure financing initiatives and general advisory services to both the private and public sector.
Mr Mminele gave an assurance that the bank’s strategic initiatives would continue to contribute to unlocking the country’s potential by supporting and investing in crucial development sectors in the national economy, such as trade, industry, agribusiness, energy and by supporting SMEs.
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