A New Canvas For Barclays As Parent Group Rebrands To Absa Group

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Barclays parent company yesterday made the official announcement as it rebrands from Barclays Africa Group Limited to Absa Group Limited and said it will rename its Barclays Bank subsidiaries in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia within the next two years, subject to approvals.

The name change signals 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.

Absa Group, which plans to open offices in the UK and US, today also launched a new brand design as an expression of its new identity as a forward-looking bank in a digital era. The group’s new business purpose statement is helping to “bring your possibility to life”.

“Our new brand is an expression of our new group identity as a standalone African bank with global scalability,” said Absa Group Chief Executive Officer Maria Ramos. “A single name and brand will enable us to unite behind a single identity, purpose and strategy.”

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What this means for Kenya

In Kenya, the change means a continuation of the products and services that Barclays customers currently use, and the opportunity for the Bank to do better for customers and clients in the future.

Barclays Bank of Kenya will be renamed at a later stage, subject to regulatory and other approvals. Right now, the bank will continue to trade and operate under the Barclays brand in Kenya even though the parent company’s name has changed to Absa Group Limited.

The change also means and gives Barclays more flexibility to try out new products that resonate with the local market like the newly launched Timiza App.

“We are excited because it is a new beginning and we can go a step further in localizing products the way we see fit. We can get into segments and opportunity areas that we see have room for growth. A good example is with the Timiza App, we were the first of the group markets to launch the mobile banking app Timiza which from the popular demand of signups has shown that we really hit the spot on a product and service that our customers actually value; and there will be more examples of that as we move forward,” said Mr Awori during the press briefing.

Absa Group started trading under its new name and new share code (ABG) on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange yesterday as it continues the process of separating from Barclays PLC. The group name and brand change sets in motion one of Africa’s largest rebranding programmes as eventually all Absa and Barclays ATMs, forms, branches, stationery, platforms and other assets across 12 countries will be updated with the new Absa brand design.

Product and service functionality will not be affected by the rebranding programme.

Why the name Absa

‘Absa’ was chosen as the future brand after wide consultation with employees and stakeholders across the group’s operations over a period of about a year. Existing brand value in the group, the risk of introducing a new name and cost were among the elements considered in deciding the future brand.

Absa, the name of the group’s South African subsidiary, has a pedigree as a strong and stable bank. The brand has substantial brand equity: Absa was recently named the fourth most valuable brand in South Africa by global brand valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance. There is also significant awareness of the brand in many countries in Africa though Absa’s football sponsorship.

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. The strategy is expected to double Absa’s share of bank revenues in Africa.

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