How Bar­clays Africa can thrive as ABSA

Zambian Business Times - - BUSINESS REVIEW -

Share­hold­ers want as­sur­ance that their rate of in­vest­ment re­turns will be main­tained. Cus­tomers, too, want even bet­ter services than they have pre­vi­ously en­joyed. Each one of these de­mands re­quires spe­cial, strate­gic choices. By Pro­fes­sor Ndemo

ON July 11, Bar­clays Africa Group Lim­ited of­fi­cially changed its name to Absa Group Lim­ited.

It will re­name its sub­sidiaries across the con­ti­nent; an ar­du­ous jour­ney.

Any form of change brings anx­i­ety among stake­hold­ers who wish to pro­tect their in­ter­ests. For ex­am­ple, bank em­ploy­ees will need re­as­sur­ance that the ben­e­fits they en­joyed un­der the Bar­clays brand will re­main or get bet­ter.

Share­hold­ers want as­sur­ance that their rate of in­vest­ment re­turns will be main­tained. Cus­tomers, too, want even bet­ter services than they have pre­vi­ously en­joyed. Each one of these de­mands re­quires spe­cial, strate­gic choices.

Staff is key to the bank’s suc­cess­ful re­brand­ing, and, as such, the mes­sag­ing on their fu­ture sta­bil­ity will be of great ben­e­fit. They need to be re­as­sured that there will be no job losses and a firm demon­stra­tion that the re-brand­ing con­sti­tutes an ex­cit­ing and bet­ter op­por­tu­nity.

This is an in­te­gral step be­cause staff are the most im­por­tant am­bas­sadors for any brand. And it is a big plus that Bar­clays has po­si­tioned em­ploy­ees at the cen­tre of the brand tran­si­tion, hav­ing re­vealed the brand, its val­ues and at­ti­tudes to them be­fore do­ing it ex­ter­nally.

Bar­clays Bank’s Manag­ing Di­rec­tor in Kenya, Mr. Jeremy Awori, is op­ti­mistic that the change will be smooth. “While our par­ent name has changed to­day, our clients and cus­tomers can con­tinue to bank with us as con­fi­dently as they al­ways have. We are here to stay, work­ing with all our stake­hold­ers to grow a bet­ter Kenya. We re­main com­mit­ted to de­liv­er­ing mu­tual ben­e­fits to our share­hold­ers, cus­tomers, com­mu­ni­ties and our coun­try,” he said. It is im­per­a­tive that the bank con­tin­ues to demon­strate to cus­tomers that their money is in safe hands. The bank must show that it is com­mit­ted to long-term in­ter­ests in the coun­try, and as such, will help cus­tomers pros­per through in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions in an in­creas­ingly fluid state of tech­nol­ogy.

The fu­ture of bank­ing will de­mand that the bank be re­spon­sive to its cus­tomers, with easy bank­ing that cre­ates a great ex­pe­ri­ence. And of course, they should not for­get that the cus­tomer wants great value from their fi­nan­cial prod­ucts and services.

It is un­der­stood that the bank is de­vel­op­ing new back­end sys­tems to be housed on the con­ti­nent with the ex­press aim of im­prov­ing the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence. It will cer­tainly be in­ter­est­ing to see if they can achieve this aim over time.

Although we have not heard much from Kenya’s pol­icy and reg­u­la­tory bod­ies, the bank will, at some point, ex­plain - and pos­si­bly flaunt - its strong his­tory of good gov­er­nance, which re­mains a pil­lar of suc­cess mov­ing for­ward.

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