With multinational banks serving as major financiers of government projects as well as some private ones, Ghana can hope for the operations of Barclays Africa Group Limited officially now known as Absa Group Limited to positively impact the economy with its offerings.
According to Absa Group CEO; René van Wyk, last year was a year of almost unprecedented activity for the Group as the business was re-set as an independent bank after Barclays Plc reduced its shareholding to a minority stake in 2017 adding “the strong leadership team and structure that was put in place over the past year can now deepen the efforts within their business units to deliver against our ambitious growth strategy.”
Absa Group announced a new strategy in March as it repositioned itself as an independent African banking group focused on growth.
In April, a new operating model was implemented to structure the business for delivery against the new strategy.
In June, Absa Group achieved regulatory deconsolidation from Barclays PLC, which meant that regulators no longer regarded the two businesses as a consolidated entity.
In July, the group started trading as Absa Group and launched refreshed brand in South Africa.
Absa opened an office in London in September, strengthening its ability to serve European and global corporates.
In 2018, the group also stepped up its digital customer offerings:
Chat Banking on WhatsApp was launched, enabling customers to conduct basic banking on one of the world’s most-used chat platforms, a world first
A mobile app called Timiza was launched in Kenya, allowing customers to save and borrow money without having to visit a branch
Absa was first in South Africa to launch Samsung Pay
The group also reported an increase in revenue and earnings for 2018, a year of almost unprecedented corporate activity as the group repositioned itself for delivery against a new growth strategy as an independent African bank.
Normalised headline earnings increased 3% to R16.1 billion compared with 2017 and revenue increased 4% to R75.7 billion.
Shareholders will receive a final dividend of R11.10 per share, a 4% increase from the final 2017 dividend.
Gross loans to customers increased by 13% Jason Quinn, Absa Group Financial Director submitted.
In our largest business, retail in South Africa, lending momentum outpaced the market showing good new business growth across home loans, vehicle and asset finance and personal loans. Absa also gained market share in deposits which grew by 11% with strong growth in fixed and notice deposits.
Absa Group Limited is listed on the JSE and is one of Africa’s largest diversified financial services groups with a presence in 12 countries across the continent and around 42,000 employees.
The group owns majority stakes in banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, the Seychelles, South Africa (Absa Bank), Tanzania (Barclays Bank in Tanzania and National Bank of Commerce), Uganda and Zambia. It has representative offices in Namibia and Nigeria, as well as insurance operations in Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.